Time to Re-Boot

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2nd and concluding part of Origin’s successful resumption

In the first post, we had mentioned the key elements that were responsible for reviving and re-booting Origin, the organization, after the flood-ravaged city of Chennai had got destroyed to such an extent that recovery for most – be it business or normal life, seemed an insurmountable task. The unforgettable impact and effect can be understood through the current state of affairs faced by large and well-established multi-national companies as recent as last week!

Ford likely to start vehicle production from December 18; BMW will start production only in the New Year. Ford is currently cleaning up after water entered both the assembly line and the car park. Engine assembly at the Ford plant began on December 7, but vehicle assembly has been suspended till December 18. From December 12 to January 3, 2016, BMWs assembly line is under planned maintenance in preparation for 2016. Hyundai’s factory remained closed for little over 3 days. Renault, Nissan, and Royal Enfield also had to close shop. Toyota Kirloskar Motor took a production halt for one day. Wipro had taken a hit on its revenues owing to business loss during flood crisis.

Origin successful redemption chennai floods

The question that arises is how did a company like Origin manage to rise and be up on its feet so fast?

People choosing to create new processes and operating with a passion to fulfil the commitments were responsible primarily for the ‘speedy recovery’!

First of all, on December 1, Tuesday, the management took the decision of sending people back home in the afternoon when new reports of inundation in main parts of the city started coming in. Scheduled business travel plans had gone awry. The business heads and the team in-charge of travel and logistics immediately swung into action, altering the plans suitably by informing the customers and relevant stakeholders. Few of the staff decided to stay back with the support and administrative team members chipping in by making food, shelter, and other logistical arrangements. Those who stayed back knew that if they went home, the project delivery and timelines would have gone haywire and the chance of re-working on them was virtually non-existent.

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The internet bandwidth and the infrastructure support available then at the office was fully made use of. While the whole city had collapsed, it took an enormous amount of energy (physical and mental) to find out ways of overcoming the challenge at hand. There was co-ordination between various stakeholders that created new bonds at workplace and customer sites! Some customers following the developments provided ample support by adjusting the timelines, thanks to the strength of relationships built over a period of time. The management, customers, and colleagues – both at the Chennai and the Bangalore offices seemed to be in sync as the goal was clear – to make as swift a recovery as possible.

All forms of transport – cars, bikes, and cycles – of many colleagues were submerged and the chances of recovering them seemed almost non-existent. Constant monitoring and re-assessment of situation, using smart technologies to communicate, and work-from-home option enabled to keep things under control.

On Monday, 7 December, arrangements to power life into work were made by use of diesel generator sets. No air-conditioning and the limited bandwidth meant that people had to optimize the use of technology and all other available resources. The focus was on the work at hand, and employees, irrespective of gender, came together to show that a unified approach can make it possible to overcome any challenges. Some colleagues had even lost everything material with the flood washing away things such as electronic items and furniture, some even lost education certificates. Those who had managed leave in time to their native towns, showed up for work.

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Slowly yet steadily communication lines were restored with colleagues reaching out to the authorities and managing to effectively source the requisite infrastructure. Car-pooling, commuting by public transport and other available means helped people to commute to and from work. With non-operational elevators, climbing three levels became a routine. The morale was in no way dented as the spirit to survive and re-build was vibrantly visible. People were prepared to work to achieve the outcomes that Origin has committed to. Ultimately, it was as much a triumph of collective intelligence as collective spirit of the people at Origin. Founded with a mission to Ideate, Innovate, and Synergize to meet business goals and customer objectives, Origin will continue to serve its customers in the best possible way even if it means braving all odds.


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