How SADAFCO weathered the COVID-19 crisis

Short Url
Updated 27 July 2020

How SADAFCO weathered the COVID-19 crisis

There is no management handbook that tells you how to deal with a crisis like COVID-19. For all of us, it has represented completely uncharted territory. In the case of our company, SADAFCO, I believe clear and calm heads and a relentless focus on fulfilling our main mission as a manufacturer of food products are what have brought us through this crisis.

In order to fulfill that main mission, our key challenges were to maintain an extensive manufacturing and a cross-border raw material supply infrastructure, implement additional health, safety and environment (HSE) measures, keep all our staff safe and continue to fulfill orders.

In the early stages of the crisis, there was an initial rush of activity as we procured the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) and organized more accommodation and bed capacity for our employees to ensure controlled and managed living facilities. Throughout this period, communication was vital to ensure everyone understood the situation and what was expected of them.

Unlike many of our fellow businesses, the lockdown saw growth in demand for our products as people stayed at home. We were able to meet this initial spike from our existing product inventories, which we had already begun to increase in anticipation of increased demand ahead of Ramadan.

As lockdown progressed, however, it became more challenging to maintain consistency of operations. Shipments into the Kingdom that we rely on became less predictable, customs clearance understandably took a little longer than usual and we were unable to bring specialist personnel into the country.

For me, the key throughout has been to ensure that our valued colleagues do not suffer from exhaustion, additional stress and overwork themselves.

Employees now returning to our offices after extended WFH (work from home) know exactly what to expect — social distancing, regular hand washing and mask wearing are now the norm.

At SADAFCO, we place great emphasis on following the correct procedures and policies when it comes to cybersecurity, data protection and online security. It is no use having great technical infrastructure in place if employees are undermining security by clicking on email attachments from unknown senders, and using personal email accounts and unauthorized file sharing services to exchange files.

With all our employees fully instructed in the basics of safe computing, we have avoided the types of data leakage and cybersecurity breaches that many feared would be a feature of extended WFH. I believe this represents another victory for our policy of very clear and regular communication.

• The writer is the CEO of SADAFCO.


Khalaf Al Habtoor extends timely medical assistance to Lebanese hospitals

Updated 05 August 2020

Khalaf Al Habtoor extends timely medical assistance to Lebanese hospitals

  • Al Habtoor will arrange one-month’s worth of urgent medical supplies for hospitals in the country that have more than 1,000 beds
  • The Khalaf Al Habtoor Hospital at Hrar in northern Lebanon will open up auxiliary treatment support for patients who are unable to be accommodated in Beirut hospitals

DUBAI: Khalaf Al Habtoor, the founding chairman of Al Habtoor Group (AHG), based in the UAE, is reaching out with timely aid for the Lebanese people after the massive explosion at a Beirut port on Tuesday, August 4, that devastated many neighborhoods, leaving more than a hundred dead people and thousands injured.

Al Habtoor, known for his philanthropic activities in the UAE and abroad, said he will extend all possible efforts within his means to aid the affected people in Lebanon as a first step of a multi-pronged assistance plan. As a first step, Al Habtoor will arrange one-month’s worth of urgent medical supplies for hospitals in the country that have more than 1,000 beds. The hospitals to be aided through this initiative include Haroun Hospital, Al Makasid Hospital, Levant Hospital, Rizk Hospital, Rafic Hariri Hospital, Hotel Dieu Hospital and the Khalaf Al Habtoor Hospital, Hrar.

Additionally, the Khalaf Al Habtoor Hospital at Hrar in northern Lebanon will open up auxiliary treatment support for patients who are unable to be accommodated in Beirut hospitals, conducting at least 100 operations for those injured in the explosion. To help those who require much needed recovery and recuperation assistance, the hospital will also rent out a nearby hotel, which will act as a temporary off-site field hospital for post-operative care and treatment.

More than 300,000 people have been left homeless by the blast, which tore through several dozen neighborhoods close to the port area, razing several buildings and shattering glass windows in a much wider area outside the blast zone. Two hotels owned by Habtoor Hospitality in Beirut, Hilton Beirut Habtoor Grand and Hilton Metropolitan Palace, have been damaged in the fallout of the explosion.

Al Habtoor said: “The country and people of Lebanon have always had a special place in my heart. This explosion which has devastated the capital city in the midst of an already severe economic crisis has left the common people badly shaken. We offer our deepest condolences to the families of the victims and will leave no stone unturned in reaching them the best possible emergency and medical aid, post-operative care and temporary accommodation for those rendered homeless by the tragic event.”

He added that the cries of the Lebanese people for help have been heard and that it was important to respond by offering the right kind of assistance and treatment, in terms of quantity, quality and the timing it reaches the people.

The visionary entrepreneur and philanthropist has extended generous contribution to Lebanon in various forms over the last decade, including refugee aid programs, Ramadan campaigns, wintertime distribution of food packages and blankets, the establishment of The Khalaf Al Habtoor Hospital, and a multitude of charitable donations.