Action Covid-19

Reminiscing about our team effort to help on the first wave of Coronavirus in Europe.

It all started when…

…the Covid-19 epidemic hit China and then the whole world at large. At the time, I remember, my whole team and I were safe in Shenzhen resuming work on our electronics projects when the first cases were being reported on overseas national news. We kind of knew what was going to happen since we experienced it few weeks before in China but we never would have imagined the unfortunate scale of it.

“What are we going to do about it as a human group and as a resourceful organization?”

Back then I remember discussing the situation with my team and the same question kept resonating: what are we going to do about it as a human group and as a resourceful organization? For my partner and I, it felt pretty normal that we put our supply chain resources, deep manufacturing & governmental local network and quality management processes to greater use in the fight against the Covid-19 virus. At the time, China had cautiously closed its borders to the other countries so, as a foreigner, I was kind of “locked inside” since going out would have meant not being able to come back in for an unknown amount of time and this was no option.

Thus, off we go sending few hundreds of masks to our families, friends, existing customers and acquaintances in need but what started as a small operation at the beginning grew into something bigger along the way.

Welcome to the Factory! Much like for our electronics products, we like to show what’s happening backstage.
Welcome to the Factory! Much like for our electronics products, we like to show what’s happening backstage.

I don’t know exactly how many set of certification documents I’ve audited (…) but I am still getting dizzy thinking about it.

In a matter of days, we were auditing factories all over China and gathering as much knowledge as possible on the different types and grades of masks, gloves, protective gowns, googles, etc. We would also be constantly talking to the Chinese customs in order to get updates as fast as possible on the ever-changing Chinese and Overseas customs regulations in order to make sure we were shipping quality masks and that our goods wouldn’t be stuck at the customs here or there. I don’t know exactly how many set of certification documents I’ve audited, probably more than a hundred, and I still get dizzy thinking about it.

Sample of the hundreds of Certificate Reports we audited along the way.
Sample of the hundreds of Certificate Reports we audited along the way.

The situation in China was completely hectic at the high of the virus in the World: it was hard for the manufacturing capability of China (even for China yes) to keep up with the Need, Demand was multiple times-fold what the Offer could supply which led to price increases, shipments offered to the highest bider and huge stress and backlogs on the logistics. But at the same time, only China could manufacture the humongous volume of PPE needed by pretty much all of the countries around the World at a level of quality that would ensure Safety. To that regard, after a sudden surge in the volumes being exported and sometimes not at the highest quality, the Chinese customs have done a great job overall at controlling most of the shipments, educating manufacturers about the required level of quality and thus at making sure that the products being shipped were on par with international regulations and would protect their final user.  

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It was definitely hard to navigate during those times because we had to supply fast without making any costly mistake but people were waiting and their need was beyond urgent on the other side of the globe. Thanks to our hardworking team and our reliable local network, we could get things done how we wanted and at the level of quality and professionalism we expected. Trust me, it was no easy task in this seller’s market and I’d like for this short article to really show for how grateful I am for my team’s commitment to saving lives!

You cannot take pictures here Sir.
You cannot take pictures here Sir.

We’ve also mobilized our purchasing, engineering & quality management departments (…) to make sure that these Disposable Medical Masks and various PPE went through the same meticulous qualifying processes as all of our other products.

Quality is our primary concern at Supernova Innovation and here, we were not only shipping face masks, to us they were protecting devices meant to be saving lives. These protecting devices had to be done right so their intended purpose could serve well the people wearing them: we’ve set ourselves to place orders only through government-vetted factories and within our network exclusively. We’ve also mobilized our purchasing, engineering & quality management departments, the exact same way we do when handling complex innovative electronics projects, so as to make sure that these Disposable Medical Masks and various PPE went through the same meticulous qualifying processes as all of our other products. I also found myself going to factories a lot with my purchasing & quality team onboard in order to check and test batches directly on site but that’s the cool side of it #FUNFACTories.

#ninjaselfie
#ninjaselfie

Fast-forward from a few weeks of hard word, sleepless nights but also great achievements, we have shipped millions of masks, gloves, protective gowns, etc and are continuing to do so. My team and I couldn’t be prouder and more humbled by the work we’ve done, even if we know that it unfortunately isn’t over. We brought our little contribution to the greater picture in times of urgent need and we often smile at the thought that somewhere some people we don’t know are walking safely protected by the masks we helped procure.

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At the time of the writing of this article, Europe is already in a much better place regarding the spreading of the virus and we couldn’t be happier about that. We hope that all of the other parts of the World can get there sooner than later. However, some other countries are still in the hard part of trying and containing the virus so we will keep at finding, validating, producing and shipping quality products to those who need them.

One of our shipment waiting for boarding.
One of our shipment waiting for boarding.

If there is one key takeaway from this epidemic we want to emphasize at Supernova Innovation is that we all had to face hardships and consequences of the spreading of this virus at some point and that in such times, if not in all, the best way to overcome these hardships is not to compare and antagonize each other but instead focus on what unites us as a Human kind in order to get out of these challenging situations stronger together.

Yoann Boudou & Team
CEO of Supernova Innovation