Igor CORMAN: “The pandemic demanded a review of all plans”
InfoMarket Business News Agency is implementing the “InfoMarket-20: ProInvest-2020” project in the partnership with the Free Economic Zone of Balti. Today's guest is Igor Corman, the director of SEBN Moldova.
Sumitomo Electric Bordnetze SE (SEBN SE) is a global manufacturer of automotive wiring and electrical components. It has 41 plants in 14 countries with more than 39 thousand employees.
Sumitomo Electric Bordnetze SE (SEBN SE) started its activities in Moldova at the end of 2015. SEBN Moldova is one of the most modern factories in Moldova, with an area of 28 thousand square meters, was put into operation in Orhei less than two years later, on October 30, 2017. 3,500 people are provided with well-paid jobs and working conditions. The company culminated in its activities in 2019, when it was fully staffed. This was made possible due to an increase in production volumes by its customer - Volkswagen, in particular, by placing orders for wiring for VW T6, as well as for a new project VW T6 PA.
InfoMarket: How did the epidemiological situation affect the implementation of the company's plans for 2020?
Igor CORMAN: The spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and the introduction of restrictive measures have had a significant influence on all activities in most countries including the automotive industry. This required a review of all plans, firm and decisive action. In a short time, we had to act quickly to ensure strict implementation of measures to prevent and protect against COVID-19 at the workplaces, to ensure the continuity of production in the new conditions, to keep employees. This is a serious challenge in the circumstances that we have overcome together.
InfoMarket: What extent did the pandemic affect the company's activities, its employees? How does the company plan to act after the emergency?
Igor CORMAN: Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we had to stop production activities temporarily, a chain reaction that affected most factories of the SEBN group, the goal is to slow down the spread of the pandemic. We almost did not work in April, and we began the process of gradual resumption of production in May in conditions of maximum security. We are currently continuing the restart process, taking into account applications from our client. We rely on the commitment and flexibility of our employees: it is necessary to adapt gradually to new standards, thus, the prevention, protection and safety at work are of high importance. We need to develop various ways of working together, taking into account remote work.
We have developed a number of preventive measures that are closely related to the specific activities of each employee in coordination with the central office, these are based on three principles: information - motivation - action. All employees are informed about the COVID-19 infection, the symptoms and the risks of infection. Various information materials (leaflets, brochures, posters) have been developed to inform and raise awareness of the need to comply with protective measures at work, in transport, in the dining room, at home, in public places. We provided all employees with protective equipment and disinfectants, we adjusted work schedules to reduce the risk of infection, reorganized the premises to provide social distance, daily sorting of employees, repeated disinfection of transport units and office premises during the day, a canteen, locker rooms, etc. We also rely on the discipline of each employee, explaining the need to abide by the rules of protection strictly for the common good.
I must admit, adapting to new working conditions is a difficult task, but we have the determination to consider the situation as a problem that requires active participation, innovative solutions and teamwork. Even if production was stopped for a while, our employees, who were unemployed, received remuneration in accordance with the provisions of the law. Despite the current decline in production volumes, we are determined to overcome this situation in the best way for our employees.
InfoMarket: Having such a large staff, you influenced the social life of the region...
Igor CORMAN: Our employees, approximately 3.5 thousand people, live in almost 200 settlements of the country. We have done everything to ensure that they comply with the protection and prevention measures of COVID-19 conscientiously and rigorously, we provided them with personal protective equipment and disinfectants. As you know, an informed employee is motivated, actively sharing the information related to COVID-19 with the family, relatives, close friends and community.
In addition, we were sensitive to requests from medical institutions and local government administrations to provide financial support in the fight against the pandemic purchasing personal protective equipment, disinfectants, logistics and office supplies.
InfoMarket: The government announced various business support programs. Can residents of the Free Economic Zone of Balti use them?
Igor CORMAN: Yes, SEBN MD can use the government programs during the state of emergency like any other economic agent.
InfoMarket: How can the government support the industrial sector this year, in your opinion?
Igor CORMAN: It makes sense to take measures to support economic agents, deferring the payment of taxes and duties in certain areas. We need programs to support the business environment directly, subsidizing the wages of workers who were partially or permanently unemployed, the interest rate subsidies and VAT refund programs, other measures must also be taken to improve tax and customs legislation. //08.07.2020 – InfoMarket.