Working in the time of Coronavirus

Nadine, Logistics Process Manager, is standing in the distribution center. There are lots of boxes around them and you can see different devices. She herself is holding a small package and a scanner in her hand.

For most employees at Pepperl+Fuchs, the COVID crisis has led to a considerable change in their working conditions. While some are now working from home, others are holding the fort on site, while observing the safety measures enforced there. One of these employees is Nadine. At the beginning of 2020, she moved from Pepperl+Fuchs’ Mannheim site to Katy, Texas. As Logistics Process Manager, she is responsible for controlling warehouse processes. In the career blog, Nadine reports on how this works in the times of the coronavirus pandemic.

My team is responsible for controlling warehouse processes in the control station of the USA distribution center (UDC). My time in Texas began in February 2020, a month before the COVID-19 pandemic started. For this reason, I initially spent most of the first few months working from home. But I have since returned to working on site, following strict safety and hygiene regulations.

At first, working from home was unusual for me and my team. We had to test out new ideas and concepts to allow smooth collaboration and good communication, which required breaking new ground. Rather than consulting with warehouse staff in person, we suddenly started holding video conference meetings.

Organization: More important than ever

I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised about how well it worked. Organization was particularly important at this time. Anything I could take care of by phone, I relegated to my time working at home, while I used my days at the office purely for typical on-site activities.

Remotely developing new warehouse processes and holding the training sessions required for these processes was definitely a challenge. We reached the limits of what could be done from home, for example, when testing new software functions, introducing new processes, and imparting knowledge. The latter is still done in on-site training sessions, but in small groups with strict safety and hygiene measures, including the use of face masks and a distance of six feet, or roughly 1.80 meters.

Due to the pandemic, Nadine, logistics process manager, had to refrain from visiting Germany for a long time. Instead, she uses the time to explore her new home.
Due to the pandemic, Nadine had to refrain from visiting Germany for a long time. Instead, she uses the time to explore her new home.

Controlling warehouse processes entails presence

The pandemic, of course, took us all by surprise and required a high degree of flexibility. My team demonstrated outstanding solidarity, both with me and with each other. Something that I view as very positive is their willingness to provide mutual support and to take on additional tasks, even those of other team members. We have grown even closer as a team and have shown that we can rely on each other.

However, the lesson that we learned in the logistics sector last year is that our ability to do our work completely remotely over a long period of time is limited. This is simply because we can only control our on-site warehouse processes to a limited extent when we aren’t on site ourselves.

More flexibility

Even so, something I came to appreciate in particular during my time working at home was the short “commute,” as well as the increased flexibility. I found it very pleasant not to have to drive to work every day in rush hour traffic. A personal downside was that I had to put off visiting Germany for a long time due to the pandemic.

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Profile picture of Nadine, logistics process manager

Logistics Process Manager
Working for Pepperl+Fuchs since:
June 2018
Favorite dish: Salmon with noodles in dill sauce (especially when her husband cooks)
Motto: What you want to ignite in others must burn in yourself
Dream job as a child: Detective