How is MPH handling the COVID-19 crisis?
The unprecedented nature of the COVID-19 crisis has required quick thinking and even faster action from governments and companies alike. For MPH, working with high-profile clients in fields such as oil and gas or nuclear with thousands of consultants all over the world, this situation has been especially tricky and complex to navigate. So how is MPH ensuring our consultants' safety while continuing to progress on various projects, all while coming up with logistical solutions to adhere to health and safety measures specific to every country? With more states easing lockdown regulations, we sat down with four experts to understand what MPH is doing to support both its consultants and clients.
How is MPH looking after its consultants during the current situation?
Franck Ladegaillerie, CEO of MPH, explains that safety and logistics are vital concerns for MPH consultants.
"To make sure our consultants are both safe and still operational, we have put in place and emphasised the importance of daily catch-up meetings, ensuring we can answer all requests and solve any potential issues."
In Russia, at MPH Vostok, the same level of logistical prowess has been deployed to ensure the functioning of networks, teams, and services. Communication at all levels is essential to ensure the smooth running of operations.
"We are working closely with customers and the regional authorities to develop and follow necessary sanitary and epidemiological measures to keep our consultants safe. We regularly communicate and consult our contracted staff about any changes which might influence their workflow." points out Evelina Balunova, Business Development Director at MPH Vostok.
There are setbacks, however. The changing nature of the COVID-19 crisis and the evolving health and safety regulations put in place by governments and companies mean there are social distancing rules to abide by, a pressing need for masks and gloves and administration matters to settle among others. Since many of our consultants come from different countries, legal issues regarding their visas may also arise.
Bernard Jacobin, the sales director of MPH, says, "In Qatar, we are monitoring our logistics team daily and helping them provide masks and gloves in this period. We are doing our best to deliver this essential equipment. We are also working to find the best solutions regarding all the administration aspects. Indeed, everything is blocked or not accessible now. We are pushing forward to support consultants in the visa process, for example, to extend the visa and explore on-site solutions."
The preparations go even further, MPH Operations Director Nazneen Ishack explains:
"We can support our clients and consultants at all times. We are available 24/7 for our consultants as an emergency point of contact. We also have ISOS (telephone counselling service, telephone medical advice, critical incident stress debriefing) to give the best information in these times. We have provided all our consultants with specific guidelines and actions according to each country's regulations according to how we’re dealing with each situation and what solutions are available. We are also sending monthly newsletters to keep our consultants informed and updated. [...] Our consultants are on-site dealing with quarantine and the setting up of preventative and security measures. MPH is helping them with tests, safety, and repatriation, all while keeping a close watch on evolving situations, especially with sensitive industries such as defense. We’re ensuring repatriation is granted to consultants requesting this option during lockdown (with help from embassies)."
How is MPH supporting clients during this crisis?
With clients in essential fields such as defense, oil and gas, and nuclear energy, MPH must keep operations running in these hard times. Whether it's putting business continuity plans in place, ensuring constant communication with clients, setting up for remote work, or agreeing on options for delivery-sensitive phases, MPH is leaving no stone unturned to ensure that projects stay on track and clients' expectations are met.
"For our customers, our top priority is to put a business continuity plan in place to keep our processes such as sourcing, payroll, accounting, logistics operating remotely." assures Franck Ladegaillerie.
But what exactly are the logistical solutions that have been made available to clients?
For starters, MPH meticulously gets in touch with each client, monitoring potential cases in the team to take the project's necessary actions. MPH also implements quarantine support for clients and takes care of consultants to help them return to site. Contract extensions are also made available, flights can be rescheduled, and bookings for on-site hotels can also be changed. Yet, despite all these measures and solutions, some projects remain on hold because of the nature of the COVID-19 crisis. How does MPH proceed then?
"We have arranged homeworking options for our staff and consultants." points out Nazneen Ishack, "Our MPH staff are currently working remotely. They are attentive, focused, and aware of the main tools of communication (phone, emails, other digital apps)."
Already, MPH is preparing for the future and anticipating the restart process, as Bernard Jacobin explains:
"Once operations resume, MPH will be assessing all the activities and planning. The main challenge is to think outside the box to anticipate the restart process. We are helping and supporting our clients to think about all the different scenarios."
How is MPH organized to prepare the post-crisis?
"When the lockdown is lifted, we will be ready", assures Nazneen Ishack.
Behind the scenes, a lot of thought and work is going into anticipating the restart of activities. Work permits, visa access to speed up mobilization, detailed action plans, and administration restrictions are all being used to ensure that once lockdown ends, MPH teams will be ready to return to work.
MPH CEO Franck Ladegaillerie confirms, "The primary focus for the MPH team is to make sure that all projects resume as quickly as possible, making sure our staff are ready and able to return to work and to be remobilized swiftly."
As MPH prepares for a post-crisis world, there are also individual factors for us to be cognizant of. Since lockdown rules differ from country to country, MPH also has to update its knowledge of each country regularly. Even in these changing times, things are looking up. All the administration authorizations for the Arctic project have, for example, been completed. So once the borders reopen, MPH will be ready to mobilize again.
MPH executives know that the company will successfully find its way out of this crisis.
"We shall adapt ourselves according to all the regulations. We are flexible; we have a strong team, with lots of knowledgeable departments in charge." believes Nazneen Ishack.
Leaving as little to chance as possible, placing communication and preparation at the heart of our response, and trusting the expertise of those who make up MPH — this is how MPH is dealing with the crisis, and this is how we hope to emerge from it stronger.