Covid-19 has thrown industries everywhere for a loop, but some companies in the residential and commercial construction sectors are surviving despite the chaos of the pandemic. In fact, for many at Samfet, working in 2020 has felt more or less like “business as usual” thanks to our wonderfully nimble team.
Like just about everyone, we’re expecting to move forward with a “new normal” by relying on state-of-the-art technology and our rapid responses to environmental and economic changes.
Here’s what we did, and are continuing to do in order to keep building through the Covid-19 storm.
Coordinating from afar
Due to our vast food print around the globe, we’ve become accustomed to working remotely with our various offices and departments for years, and have already implemented the tech that allows us to be efficient while working remotely.
At each over our partner factories, we set up 4k camera systems that enable us (and clients) to remotely inspect all materials with great precision. During the pandemic, we had perfected our video and photo reports that are linked to our shop drawings – providing all the tools our clients need to feel secure and connected at every step of the way. We have also increased our rendering capabilities to go the extra mile to avoid any interpretational problems with clients being unable to be at the respective factories in person.
Internally, we have increased our usage of project management software and platforms so we don’t skip a beat when working remotely with our staff. We work with designers and engineers that rely on progressive digital collaboration tools for both project management and communication. Thanks to 4D and 5D simulation technology, planning projects and optimizing schedules is straightforward. Apps and other software have also enabled Samfet management to monitor employee performance and manage resources accurately.
Build and maintain resilient supply chains
Our supply chains were always efficient, but we have now ensured that they are super resilient as well, by securing crucial materials and long-lead items, maintaining relationships with various suppliers, and identifying backup distribution channels.
During the first Covid lockdown, we faced one of our biggest challenges by taking on an ultra-high end 300-room hotel and casino at City of Dreams Macau with an aggressive schedule kicking off in April with a September completion deadline. All the materials were sourced from Italy and ready to start production when Italy had to go into full lockdown. We had to quickly find the same materials in China and carefully map out a new logistics plan, as the site was in full construction and the impact of any delays would cost the client $500K USD per day. Everything had to be managed remotely through Zoom, video and photo reports etc. We got 12 factories to work simultaneously while achieving 5 star quality. Italy finally opened in May, and we had to hit the ground running there as well, and work with all imposed restrictions. It was very unusual for us to be unable to travel to the factories and quarries in Italy, both for Samfet and the client. Thanks to our supply chain management and quick response, we rose to the challenge and achieved high-quality standards while maintaining schedule.
Continued investments in the right technology
Moving forward, investing in innovative technology will be paramount to our success. In the advent of further restrictions in cross-border travel and the need for physical distancing, these digital tools will allow us to seamlessly manage workflow and automate various elements of design and construction. The pandemic also gave us a better understanding of the vulnerabilities in our supply chain in terms of inventory and labour, and this will help guide our investments in the kind of digital solutions that minimize any of these issues in the future.
While our clients were understanding of any challenges due to the pandemic, we ultimately made sure that it didn’t affect results. We will continue to build according to the highest possible standards, pandemic or no pandemic.