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Loy Loy Away, COVID

This past Friday, under a full moon night of the lunar eclipse, we participated in the most picturesque festival of Thailand – Loy Krathong. Families and friends dress up smartly to float their decorated krathongs in ponds, klongs, and rivers. One beautiful tradition of Loy Krathong is that it is the time to symbolically ‘float away’ all the negative feelings we have been holding for the past year and to start anew.

For PSS, the main cause for despair in the past one year is undoubtedly COVID. While we have been fortunate that our overall business has grown during the pandemic, we had our share of frustration:

  • Customers delayed all equipment overhaul work due to COVID fears. All our service organizations had little workload during this time. Now however, with COVID declining, most of these customers rescheduled their shutdowns to the last two months of the year. Suddenly we are short on manpower due to the big increase in workload. This created a lot of stress for all our service organizations – in the end we had no choice but to decline work from regular customers. This created customer dissatisfaction.
  • Due to COVID restrictions, most customers did not allow any sales visits. This was a very frustrating period for our sales to generate business without any customer visits.
  • Due to the uncertain business environment, PSS management had to take some tough decisions on temporary cost cutting. Although there has not been any layoffs, this created anxiety among the PSS working team.
  • PSS was one of the first companies in Rayong to implement compulsory COVID testing for all employees and other measures like employee tracing, WFH, etc. This created a very stifling working environment for employees.
  • Despite early measures, there were 4 confirmed COVID cases in PSS. This created a lot of panic for employees who were in contact with these 4 persons.
  • Due to COVID shutdown of our partners’ manufacturing plants, we had several delays with shipments coming from Europe. In one case, our customer had to cancel our order. COVID is also one of the main reasons for the global shortage of semiconductor chips and this continues to affect the delivery times of our instrument transmitters.

The concerns about COVID-19 are now slowly receding but it would be naive to think this is the end of the pandemic. There could be a new wave caused by a new strain or a new virus all together. So how do we “float away” all our COVID negative feelings ?

  • Having gone through all these difficulties, we are now much stronger and resilient to manage any new pandemic that may emerge in the coming years. We are more capable of managing both low and high service workloads in our Service Departments than before. Our partners all over the world have also strengthened their manufacturing processes and supply chain.
  • COVID has made us more productive due to on-line meetings and other company wide communication platforms. There is a significant reduction in time and transportation costs. It is quite amazing that now, thanks to COVID, all meetings mostly begin on time and with good attendance.
  • COVID has forced us to innovate our business to cover up for slowdown  – with our major focus now on asset management, energy efficiency, and decarbonization solutions. We already see many rewards from this change.
  • COVID has changed our lifestyle for the better, enabling us to be closer with our families. It has forced us to find peace within ourselves instead of finding gratification outside.

A famous Buddha saying goes “ It is in our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light”. We believe this is the main essence of Loy Krathong festival and our main guiding principle as we emerge from the COVID pandemic era.

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