Covid-19: With the PlumpyField network, ensure continuity and proximity

The International PlumpyField Network gathers 11 partners spread on 4 different continents. This sanitary crisis force us to rethink our collaboration tools, to seek local technical subcontractors with a long term view, but also to answer the big questions about our daily exchanges.

Interview with Faustine Lescanne-Malo, PlumpyField Director

How has the crisis impacted the work of the members of the PlumpyField network?

The PlumpyField network currently has 11 members on 4 different continents. We work with them on a daily basis to ensure that they can meet the needs of people on time with quality products. More than 40 people in the Nutriset Group provide them with support on matters such as quality, production, sales and research and development. While most of the activity is done remotely, many projects require travelling and interventions on site.
"To address this unprecedented situation, we have put in place a service continuity plan for our partners to ensure that everyone can carry on with their production activity to addresse the growing needs."
Then we had to reevaluate priority for some industrial development projects or the development of new formulas, based on our ability to operate remotely and taking into account the new priorities of our partners.
All of this work has been done in collaboration with all partners to ensure that this new organization meets their short and medium term plans. However, some urgent matters could not be postonned, for example: some construction companies needed to validate their entire process in order to start their work. We then had to find new solutions to function remotely, whether to follow a production process or to train teams. We had to perform as if we were present at their site, though we were distant.

What are the effects of the pandemic in countries where network members are present?

For now the health crisis seems to have had less of an impact on the countries where our partners are located, but we anticipate to operate in a more complicated environment: how to ensure the safety of our employees, how to predict possible disruptions from our suppliers, how to continue to deliver despite borders being closed, or how to meet the needs that we know will increase sharply (Also read: " COVID-19: We are ready for the emergency")
That is the type of issues that our coordinated work focuses on.
While some factories had to shutdown completely or partially under government restrictions, PlumpyField members were generally able to continue operating, hence preventing stock shortages in the supply of malnutrition support programs in the field.
"However, we stay on our guards and we are constantly in touch with our customers to ensure that, with service exchange between members of the network for exemple, the products needed to feed children can reach them."
More so now than during normal circumstances, this time of crisis reveals the strengh of this network for all, businesses, customers and beneficiaries.

What impact do you think the crisis will have on the way you operate with the members of the PlumpyField network?

The crisis will impact the way we work. To date, our support staff takes around 500 field trips yearly. These are essentiel to effectively understand of the working environment of our partners and their industries, as well as to build good working relationship and team spirit.
However, let us use this new situation to change the way we work with partners, optimizing our time on the spot but also and above all by developing new sharing tools, new relationships with local subcontractors or by changing our everyday exchanges.
"We therefore need to rethink our collaboration tools, seek local technical subcontractors with a long term view, but also answer the big questions about our daily exchanges."
Managing to be present in the daily lives of our remote partners is a great challenge and the current crisis will allow us to find solutions for the future of our collaboration.

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