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Trucking and handling necessities like food during the COVID-19 quarantine

By JM Tiosejo

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Running a trucking business in itself is already tricky. When you add food handling to the equation, it can prove to be even more challenging due to food safety protocols that must be strictly followed—especially in the time of COVID-19. When President Rodrigo Duterte declared Community Quarantine in Metro Manila, which was followed by the declaration of Enhanced Community Quarantine in the area of Luzon, my first instinct was to double everything in terms of manning, trucks, and the infusion of more preventive measures. As a service provider to a bread company, we ensure that the company’s product is delivered and restocked in groceries by noontime each day. Given these unprecedented times, the demand and pressure to those engaged in the trucking business—owners, drivers, and helpers alike—can definitely be overwhelming.

In times of adversity, the first question a businessman or businesswoman may ask is “What can I do to make my employees and clients feel safe?” People always say that hard times always bring out the best or the worst in others. In fact, it is during difficult times that relationships between the employees and their employers are put to the test. As a business owner, I am responsible for the wellbeing of my employees as well as their families. I make it a point to react to circumstances with the company’s core value in mind, which is to provide an opportunity to those who have less in life and to push them to make their lives and living conditions better. With that said, I realized that the answer to the question above was simple: I had to effectively realign my operations and my employees with the circumstance we face no matter the cost. In return, extra effort in loading, delivering, and unloading around 5,000 loaves of bread is expected of my employees. We have to remind each and everyone that constant communication is the key to get the job done. Here are some things to consider:

Check on the wellbeing of your employees
Your employees’ health should be your top priority. As the owner of a small trucking company, my first response to the declarations made by the President was to ascertain that my employees had enough food and medicine for emergencies. Moreover, I see to it that they get enough rest and sleep to keep their immune system strong and healthy.

Always have a Plan B
Never operate without any back-up plan. In our case, we always make sure that there are workforce and trucks on standby to avoid any delays in case an employee gets sick or a truck breaks down.

As a business owner, I am responsible for the wellbeing of my employees as well as their families…to provide an opportunity to those who have less in life and to push them to make their lives and living conditions better…I had to effectively realign my operations and my employees with the circumstance we face no matter the cost.

Undertake preventive measures
Considering the situation today, it is important that we all do our part in preventing the further spread of the disease. Some of the preventive measures we take include are giving employees vitamin C and a bottle of Gatorade, checking their temperature to ensure that our drivers and helpers are fit to work for the day, giving provision of alcohol, facemask, and food-graded rubber gloves in every truck, and sanitizing all trucks before and after trips.

Update yourself on laws and regulations
Again, since the surrounding circumstances are different from what we are used to, we stress the importance of knowing what is required of us. The guidelines issued by our government provide that certain documentation must be available to be allowed entry in Luzon. Coordination with the client and cooperation with the government will allow us continuous operation, especially during these trying times.

These are just some of the things to consider when it comes to running your trucking business during a pandemic. These can also apply to other businesses engaged in the service industry. With hope, these measures can prove to be sufficient to allow us to cope with the current situation. They are lessons that improved our operations. While it is our duty to find ways to attain our goal to deliver, and to go the extra mile to provide quality, safe, and efficient service to our fellow Filipinos, we must remember that it is essential to put God in the center not only in our operations but in our lives. After all is said and done, it always helps to begin and end our day with a prayer, and to never forget to be grateful for every win—big or small. Despite the stress and struggles that we encounter daily, it is necessary that we keep our faith in Him.



Source: Manila Bulletin

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