Q: How has your group played a part in efforts to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic?
When the pandemic struck Sri Lanka, the group took action to move workers to the many factories that were unaffected by the crisis.
And when the lockdown and subsequent curfew followed, necessitating the work from home (WFH) movement, we made an effort to ensure that employees were paid their basic salaries and no one was terminated.
In order to support the WFH movement, about half of our staff were provided with laptops to ensure a smooth transition from working from office to home.
And in factories and workplaces that were operational during this time, all guidelines issued by public health inspectors, officials and the state were strictly followed.
Q: Is your organisation taking steps to help staff overcome the fallout from the protracted lockdown – if so, how?
Due to a combination of factories being unaffected by the lockdown and permission from the authorities for the continued operation of export companies, our workflow was in a sense uninterrupted
Having said that, understandably the demand for school footwear fell. On the other hand, our exports didn’t suffer too much, and we witnessed sustained demand for motorcycles and bikes.
Throughout this period, we maintained strong communications with all levels of staff via several platforms.
Owing to the fallout from COVID-19 and the extended curfew, we also took steps to encourage staff to grow food at home and partake in other activities that would keep them occupied.
The group took action to inform staff on how to reduce expenditure at this crucial juncture for the national economy with tips on salary management. We also disseminated information on maintaining safe and healthy lifestyles.
In addition, we took steps to ensure staff avoided public transport and saw to it that fewer cadre got on to the assigned vehicles in order to maintain as much physical distancing as possible.
Our team has been instrumental in ensuring that our operations ran smoothly at the height of the crisis.
We had deadlines and orders to meet during the course of the lockdown and operated with minimal staff being able to report to work. They always placed the company first; and as such, incentives were provided for working during curfew.
Q: Has your group of companies participated in any community assistance endeavours – and if so, could you outline them?
The DSI Samson Group was cognisant of the role corporates needed to play in helping the community at large during the protracted curfew and lockdown. As such, we manufactured indoor slippers and facemasks, for use in hospitals and rehabilitation centres.
Furthermore, as there was an increased need for operation theatre shoes and boots for nurses, the company saw fit to manufacture them and contribute in whatever way it could to the national effort in combatting COVID-19.