With the containment period and a two-week shutdown, from March 20 to April 5, 2020, the Malaunay production site had to adapt to respond safely to high demand, explains Sébastien Decubber, Nutriset's operations manager.
Questions to Sébastien Decubber, Director of Exploitation at Nutriset
How did the factory at the Malaunay site in Normandy, France) get organized in the crisis?
We decided to put our production on stand-by from March 20th to April 5th in order to rethink our organization and preserve the health of our operators. Our product buffer stocks allowed us to deliver on our existing orders and prepare for the restart of production in the best conditions. Our priority was to strengthen our hygiene and safety procedures. We divided our site into 9 zones, with a reinforced hygiene booklet specific to each zone. All possible measures were put in place, for every step, as soon as they enter the site, without exception (masks, gels, disinfectant products, etc.). At the time there was a severe shortage of masks and we had to mobilize all our networks to get some. It was a non-negotiable condition prior to bringing our employees back on site. On their return they had to readjust to the updated environment, because the site had a lot of new signage put in place (display, markings, special reception devices ...). Seven hygiene preventers were appointed for compliance checks and monitoring. We also had to ensure the maintainence of hygiene of the facilities during this break to garanty the quality of the finished products.
During the production hold, we kept receiving customer orders which increased workload upon resuming operations. So we took all possible measures to secure our supplies for the two months following the restart. Once hygiene was strengthened and supplies secured, we had to ensure we had people and skills available. We called in our temporary agencies. We also consulted with our administrative and technical teams to call on volunteers to join on short term basis. Twenty-seven administrative and technical staff were mobilised. Without this support, we would not have been able to restart at full capacity. We also had to make sure that our logistics providers could restart and work on public holidays and weekends. I am thinking of XP LOG which manages our stocks in Le Havre and ATS our carrier that provides all our shuttles between the factory and XP LOG. Without the cooperation of our two providers, the chain was broken. The logistical tensions related in particular to the risk of shortages of containers left in China, the shutdown of ports, the blocking of borders have gradually eased and we have been able to maintain our shipment flows. Thanks to all these measures, the plant was able to restart on a solid and durable base.
What is the state of production demand today? Does its current organization allow the necessary agility?
In the current environment, we are fortunate to have a good activity, with good visibility until July. There are few companies in France today that have been able to maintain this level of activity. The hyper-agility of our entire supply chain, supplies, production, maintenance, quality, hygiene, safety, storage, transport, operations, shipping has once again demonstrated that we can react in remarkably challenging time frames! The digital and collaborative tools, highlighted by our label "Vitrine industrie du futur", and above all, the commitment of our employees allowed us to manage a Business Continuity Plan and adapt to this new organization.
"This unprecedented moment reminds me that, once again, under constraints, we can meet challenges we wouldn't have imagined in normal circumstances! Once more, our employees were able to demonstrate their commitment and solidarity."
Sébastien Decubber, Director of Exploitation at Nutriset
What lessons do you draw from this particular moment?
This health crisis reminds us how fragile we can be. A simple virus can bring down the entire global economy in a matter of weeks. It is therefore important to plan for the post-crisis in our five-year strategy. In particular, we question our organization, our supply chain, our products in development, the management of our network of partners, the digital tools that are being adopted at a fast pace. This unprecedented moment reminds me that, once again, under constraints, we can meet challenges we wouldn't have imagined in normal circumstances! Once more, our employees were able to demonstrate their commitment and solidarity.