Interview with William Harford July 9, 2020 - 11AM

Deb: William thank you so much for joining us , some articles and research that I have been following says that from a technology perspective, all of the global events in 2020 have leapfrogged us into the future – what is your perspective on this?

William: I think definitely. Specifically with your software in mind, we have started using that more than ever. It’s now because of the experience of trying to keep people from physically connecting. We have got different cafeterias set up in the Nestlé facility now. What that means is that we are trying to basically reduce the amount of contact between everybody and what that means, is that we need multiple ways in which we can get messages to these groups of people. What we have done, is we’ve basically got DIVE boards set up throughout the facility that is getting the information out to each group of people, which is perfect. And that is just one tiny little example of how technology has been leapfrogged as you say. There are a myriad of other reasons and examples of the same kind of thing. It’s the matter of getting information out to all these different people I see as being key.

Deb: I’ve been thinking about what you guys must be going through for my factory perspective but give us a sense of what or how it’s transformed.

William: It’s transformed big style. One of the first things that we needed to think about was how we were going to get everybody in the factory (monitored) and maintain the standards that we strive to maintain. One of the key things that we have done is that we measure the temperature of each and every employee before they come into the building. So we have a test: Every day they come in and they have to basically confirm that they have not left the country (they have not done this, done that), and then they need to walk in the door and get their temperature read by a machine. It reads their temperature and will either give them a big buzz saying “go back and do it again, there’s something up” or it’ll let them through.  

We’ve got them, similar to the DIVE boards, located throughout the plant and all this technology is located throughout the plant and there’s also these handheld thermometers (that we use). From another big perspective, that I don’t have direct influence on, is working from home. Everyone except for the factories, (we are one of the key parts of Nestlé that can’t work from home) but I know that all of the head office is basically working from home now. What that has meant Is a ton of issues for IT – VPN and things like that all have to be looked at and examined to ensure that they work and continue to work correctly, for everybody.

Deb: Yes, wow! Talk about needing a deep breath for everyone. Tell us, in corporate communications does that impact the messaging that you guys are putting out? 

William: Yes it has! It’s more consistent. We use a tool called Workplace, which is from Facebook, and there’s a lot more communication on there. I would not be surprised if I looked at the stats on the use of that particular tool that has gone up big style because everyone is sitting at home and trying to communicate with colleagues throughout the world. (MS) Teams, ZOOM things like that have all increased big style. 

Deb: Yep, totally. Same with us.

William: Will it go back, I don’t know!

Deb: Yes, who knows! What’s your favourite thing about working for Nestlé?

William: The incredible professional attitude of everybody here, and it’s a family. This is (about) this particular factory in this part of Canada. I can’t say for everywhere else. But certainly it’s a very professional place where everyone strives to maintain the rules and I’m the kind of guy who likes rules and keeping everything in check. That is pretty much it. And the way in which we are striving to maintain the environment and things like that. Steps that are taken every day, I read it on the website, things that they (Nestlé) are doing and changing in order to make the world a little brighter. So they’re looking at the big picture.

Deb: I love that. So what would you say to just round us out. What’s a piece of wisdom or a positive outcome, something that makes you feel good?

William: With relation to Covid?

Deb: Yeah, or anything –  for myself I’m always reflecting on a piece of wisdom or just something I’ve picked up along the way. Seems like a lot of people are going through reflective times this year.

William: Joy it does, it does! What could I say that’s relevant? I think that you can make the best of any situation and you have to make the best of any situation. You have to look at what’s happened and see how you can maximize (things) for the benefit of everybody in that particular situation. And that’s it basically – work with what you have and maximize the benefits.

Deb: I love that! Thank you so much. And speaking of IT challenges, thank you for overcoming them to chat with us today, I appreciate it!

William: Thanks for having me!

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