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How Chinese Fleet Managers dealt with Corona

Company cars are much less common in China than they are in Europe. Nonetheless, some businesses provide vehicles – leased or purchased – to their employees. We have asked a Chinese Fleet Manager to share his experiences and learnings around the coronavirus with us.

Our interviewee works for an international agro-chemical business, but as per his company policies, he prefers to stay anonymous, which we obviously respect.

Global Fleet: Can you tell us which measures were implemented once the seriousness of the virus became obvious?

“Local and Central Governments have reacted very quickly. In a first phase, they have defined the emergency levels across the country, down to province levels. De-infection guidance was issued immediately, and people were told to minimize face-to-face meetings.

On industry level, the corporates worked fast to enhance the utilization of online tools, internally, but also in relationship with vendors and clients. Wherever possible, the industries reorganized their production lines to provide for medical and prevention equipment.

Emergency support to Wuhan came very fast. On top of that, the entire population have started making donations of prevention material to the affected region.”

Global Fleet: How did your company react?

“Obviously, we followed the guidelines that were issued. The biggest impact came right after the long Spring Festival holidays, so we decided to keep our sites closed and advice our employees to work from home and minimize any activities that might expose them to the virus.

Even before the virus, our company has started to roll out digital sales tools. The situation encouraged people to use these digital tools and change their way of working.

The company has also taken its social responsibility and we’ve been providing prevention equipment to clients and providers who didn’t have enough masks, for example. All in all, protecting the individual has been our key objective throughout the crisis.”

Global Fleet: How would you describe the situation today?

“There is a slow return-to-normal, but still very cautiously. I would say that about 90% of our people has started to come back to work, exception made of course for the unfortunate colleagues who work or stayed in the Hubei Province (editor note: Wuhan is the capital of Hubei Province) at the time of the outbreak. These people need to get better first.”

Global Fleet: What are your recommendations for European Fleet Managers?

“This situation was not about cars, but about people. Here is what I would recommend:

  1. Do everything you can not to spread the infection, especially avoid people having to connect physically
  2. Train your employees on prevention and make sure they stay well informed
  3. Teach people how to sanitize and ventilate their workspaces
  4. Tell your employees to do some physical activity to stay healthy
  5. Encourage people to stay mentally active: it’s a good time to learn new things or work on projects
  6. Engage with your clients and vendors and find out how you can contribute to prevention beyond your own environment”

Global Fleet: Thank you very much for sharing this with us

Picture Credit: Shutterstock

Authored by: Yves Helven