Renishaw: COVID-19 must be addressed proactively
Renishaw has responded early at every stage of the pandemic, taking a responsible approach across its global operations and prioritising the well-being of employees, its customers and local communities.
With multiple sites in China, the company became aware of the impacts of the pandemic very early and formed a COVID-19 committee early last year (which continues to meet at least weekly) and quickly introduced a variety of COVID-19 safe working practices. These measures were often introduced ahead of government guidance.
Distancing rules, remote working practices and hygiene measures were defined and successfully implemented long before they became widely adopted. This included clear procedures for preparing and implementing customer visits where other digital support, such as remote product diagnostics, was not possible. Renishaw’s products are a vital component of its customers’ manufacturing processes, and with many of those customers supplying critical products for global supply chains, including the medical and logistics sectors, the company knew it was necessary to be in a position to offer physical support despite the challenges of the pandemic.
Just as early, with an independent on-site testing strategy, Renishaw was able to effectively protect its employees against COVID-19 from the outset and maintain production at all sites worldwide.
As well as service and support, it was also vital that Renishaw maintained product supply to its global customer base. It has continued to maintain manufacturing at all of its worldwide manufacturing sites due to the early implementation of strict COVID measures and despite the difficulties faced with global supply chains. The company is a highly vertically integrated manufacturer which machines its own components, produces its own printed circuit boards and carries out all product assembly in-house. This gives Renishaw greater control over product supply and also means that it has understood the challenges of its customers, most of whom are manufacturers.
The ability to maintain manufacture and respond in a flexible way, also allowed Renishaw to be a founding member of a consortium that supplied medical ventilators to the UK’s national health service at a time when there were identified shortages of this vital equipment.
Later in the pandemic, when rapid testing technology became available and when community infection rates were high, the company also introduced weekly testing of all employees who had to work on site at its UK sites to the nature of their job roles. These tests were conducted by medically trained staff and were very well received by employees. Almost 20,000 tests were conducted at its various sites, which identified seven asymptomatic cases; however due to social distancing and other measures in place, this did not lead to inter-company transmission.
With test kits now available to all citizens, community infection rates low, and with a highly successful vaccination programme, twice-weekly self-testing has now been encouraged for all staff. However, the company continues to regularly review the situation in the countries where it operates and will act as necessary to protect its employees.
"Our highest priority remains the health and well-being of our employees, their families and the communities in which we operate," says Rainer Lotz, President - EMEA at Renishaw, and continues: "At the same time, we have a high responsibility towards our customers worldwide, with business relationships often formed over decades. We can be very proud of our employees who have made a significant contribution to ensuring that all our production sites around the world operate normally and that deliveries to customers have been maintained during the pandemic."
"Our global footprint in worldwide markets, wide product range for very different industries and financial independence make us very resilient. In our worldwide network, we are very well placed to find a solution to deal with COVID-19, thanks to the teamwork, resilience and commitment shown by our employees," says Lotz.
Gwendolin Hinz, Human Resources Manager at Renishaw GmbH is very pleased with the self-testing programme that has been implemented at Renishaw’s German subsidiary: "In Germany we provide our employees with free self-testing kits twice a week for voluntary testing. This is especially important for our sales and service field staff due to the nature of their roles and they are all fully participating. As a company, we want to take responsibility and firmly support the self-testing strategy. The response from our staff and customers has been extremely positive."
Renishaw is one of the world's leading companies with almost 50 years’ experience in industrial metrology and scientific technologies, and more recently a technology leader in metal additive manufacturing (3D printing).