SEPCO CEO Chris Wilder answered some questions about the state of the industry and how his company is dealing with coronavirus.
P&S: Can you tell me if the pandemic has impacted your operations at all and if so, how?
WILDER: In March 2020, we shifted our operations considerably to comply with the CDC’s guidelines for operating during the COVID-19 pandemic. We eliminated visitors into our headquarters, limited the number of allowable entrances to the building, and added sanitizing stations throughout our facility and disinfectant spray and paper towels in break rooms. That’s in addition to modified work spaces with social distancing.
Our field experts were also limited from facilities. Typically, our in-the-field teams spend their time in plants and other facilities performing different services including:
- equipment and application troubleshooting
- water surveys
- equipment surveys
- outage assistance
With many facilities doing what we’ve done, limiting visitors, we had to shift how we assist our customers and anyone else who might need help. In this vein, we launched Contactless Connections in August 2020. With this service, anyone can receive immediate support via text, voice, or video through a link on www.sepco.com.
P&S: What are the positives you’re looking at going into 2021?
WILDER: While we are hopeful that operations will slowly return to normal with a vaccine available in 2021, we look forward to growing our ability to assist end users with our virtual support tool Contactless Connections. Our team was progressive and early in drawing up a COVID strategy and tireless in following the protocol it detailed. As a result, we had very a very low impact due to COVID-19 infections, and we hope that this trend continues.
We are also revamping our Seal Application Management System (SAMS 2.0), a software-based reliability program designed to help facilities improve their production efficiency by predicting fluid sealing product replacements before failure. We have planned many enhancements to this service, which will improve operations for our customers.
P&S: What do you expect the challenges to look like for your business next year?
WILDER: While we expect some challenges as the economy begins to restart and supply pipelines begin to refill, we have maintained our inventory levels and stand ready to respond with our typical high standard of service. Also, our team assists with many precision installations during outages, and we expect limits on in-person work to continue for some period. This may potentially affect how we can help our customers.