ENEX: what have we learnt in the Spring of 2020

Sergio Girotto

As of May 4th, Enex too, a company based in Treviso and known for the design and production of high efficiency refrigeration systems that use carbon dioxide (CO2), has restarted its activity, with the nearly 50 employees, among office and production, returning to their jobs. All the same, as before the crisis? “No, not as before the crisis” says Sergio Girotto, COO of Enex. “We had to modify the lay-out and the organization of the company, to guarantee the necessary distances. In production, we introduced shifts, that we did not use to have, in order to minimise the number of workers. For the offices, we converted spaces that were not in use thereby significantly reducing the staff density. We closed the canteen and all common areas; changing rooms are accessed one by one; every employee has their body temperature measured upon arrival at the premises, as well as having received the PPE required by the ordinances”.

Furthermore, Enex, upon reopening, took the initiative of offering all the employees to receive the Covid antibody test; and is considering offing a second check, after few weeks. These non-mandatory measures are Enex’ own initiative in account of being located in one of the regions most affected by the virus: “At every level of our civil society, all possible measures should be taken to avoid contagion or to promptly locate and isolate one as soon as it appears; I believe no company can afford a relapse. Even at national level, a fallback would be economically disastrous, and everyone has a moral obligation to do anything in their power to avoid it. There have been quite some talks about serological tests but for evident cost and logistical reasons such tests have not been performed widely. Within our relatively small business community, we could do that. So we did”.

When and for how long did Enex reduced its activities in the past months? “Enex has never completely closed down. Only production stopped for 2 weeks, almost completely, only to ensure the completion of few orders. Planning, budgeting and customer support, along with administration, remained active via remote working. This was possible thanks to the very efficient IT network developed over the last year, as well as to the dedication of our staff. We resumed production, albeit limited to urgent activities and with few staff on-site, as early as April 6th, to keep key-functions active, including the delivery of spare parts. We obviously acted in compliance with the law having, i.e. we requested authorization to the prefecture. We effectively restarted on April 20th, to an extent of 80%”.

What did you find most difficult? “My biggest struggle was the need to react promptly to the ordinances that were constantly issued and to be able to communicate them clearly and in time to all employees. Our size is somewhat peculiar: not small enough to be able to directly communicate with all employees nut not sufficiently large to be able to communicate through representatives”.

How has this situation changed you? “Over the last two months, we learned to adapt to a situation that we were not structurally and organizationally prepared to. We can now implement agile work and have reorganized both communication and work. That is, we have acquired new organizational skills and can say we have grown. Even our technicians, who were forced to work from home, had to learn to provide answers to customers in complete autonomy, while at the company they were used to dealing with colleagues in “real time”. This was no longer possible, while we were closed, which I believe contributed to building more autonomy in decision-making and ultimately to professional growth”.

From an economic standpoint, do you fear any consequences? “I do not think so. We have an order pipeline that allows us to restart comfortably. The relationship with our customers was never discontinued and I am not expecting any surprise. Some orders are likely to suffer a delay, but we have new products ready that are enjoying quite some interest and we hope to recover at least part of the lost turnover thanks to new customers and new markets. Employees are aware of the effort that the company made over these difficult weeks and I am sure they will work hard to recover.