MB92 Barcelona took the decision to close the facilities on the 16th of March 2020 to ensure the protection and well-being of everyone involved in the shipyard’s day to day. Activity re-commenced on the 14th of April 2020. We spoke with Miquel Àngel Lliteras, MB92 Barcelona Shipyard Manager, to discuss the confinement period, planning for re-activity and progress since then.
When it was announced that the shipyard would close, what were the initial challenges you faced?
Prior to the 16th of March, when we took the decision to close the shipyard, we had held a series of meetings to pre-plan for this eventuality. This focused around the safety of everyone involved, the maintenance and security of the facilities, project work for our clients in the yard, as well as those scheduled to arrive in the coming weeks.
It was agreed that 10-man teams composed of MB92 employees, electricians and security guards would take turns to remain on-site to provide minimal services and security while following the strict safety measures and safe distance protocols. Once appropriate measures had been agreed, each team was equipped with everything necessary to support them during their 11-day rotation.
Aside from those on-site, all the infrastructure and means to work from home had to be arranged so that project work could be developed and clients could be provided with anything they may require including medical attention, security, provisions and services. Supported by our internal departments, this was swiftly organised, and the transition was smooth.
What were the main issues to address when it was decided to re-commence activity?
Principally, we needed to develop and install our own health, safety and security measures for the shipyard. Our Health, Safety and Environment Department did a fantastic job in researching, coordinating with our Purchasing Department to source adequate PPE (at no small cost), and then implementing these measures in time for the 14th of April.
From a Project perspective, we knew that we were still to have our hands tied while international borders remained closed so our Project Management Department, liaising with our local providers and clients, were able to identify work that could be done from day one. Then, together with Health & Safety, program work schedules as efficiently as the parameters would allow.
What were the most positive aspects during the planning and implementation of the re-activity plan?
I have been heartened by the incredible response that every employee has made. Across every department there are plenty of examples of colleagues going the extra mile to support their teammates, our clients and the company. I wish to also pay tribute to every crew member inside the facilities whose response to the situation has been exemplary, and our collaborating companies who have been integral to planning and re-commencing activity.
One of the main takeaways from this experience is how we have all made the effort to humanise communication. It would be easier to send an email but to pick up the phone or arrange a video call has helped us all feel closer while we work our way through this.
Finally, and by no means least, we are so used to our cleaning teams working behind the scenes but throughout this crisis, they have been on our front line. Without their commitment and hard work every day in the shipyard since re-opening, none of this would have been possible.
How do you see progress over the coming few weeks?
Under normal circumstances, we would be approaching the end of our peak season. We currently have 19 yachts in the facilities with ongoing project work. We expect few more arrivals between now and the summer. However, given we don’t yet know how the crisis will affect the summer charter season, we must be prepared for any eventuality.
What have we learned from this situation that we could use as a company in the future?
At the moment, we have a limited number of people operating on board and in the facilities. This has helped monitor and control the flow of traffic. We have installed measures to ensure that we know who and when workers/crew are on board. This is something that we will advance and develop further as more people return to work on-site. The use of technology to monitor personnel throughout the facilities will be extremely useful to assess many factors and help plan projects in the future.
What this situation has shown us above all is that our capacity to anticipate problems and provide proactive solutions on a daily basis for our clients has proved an essential asset during this period, and will continue to be invaluable for us as a company moving forward from this.