New Zealand and its handling of the COVID-19 crisis has largely been perceived as a success by the rest of the world. As of Monday 08 June, the country has zero active COVID-19 cases. New Zealand has also recorded just 22 deaths from COVID-19.
This is not to say that everything has been easy. As of Monday 08 June, Navico’s Auckland site moved back to Navico Stage 1 – Open, but a one month enforced lockdown before that from March 25 presented some big challenges to the team.
Chris Hill described the events leading up to the lockdown: “Warning was given on Monday 23rd March, so the New Zealand Government gave the country 48 hours to fully lock down. However, in the Auckland office we pretty much emptied the whole building by that afternoon.”
The R&D team rely on key equipment (other than a laptop) to maintain productivity. Two of the mechanical team took 3D printers home to be able to prototype during lockdown.
On the hardware side, there was also a challenge in transferring kit at short notice. Many of the hardware engineers working on projects had electronic cards to test/debug/develop and the tools required for the job included power supplies, oscilloscopes and spectrum analysers.
Outside of Auckland, other members of the R&D Team also had the challenge of transporting bulky equipment. One of Navico’s Product Experts in Tulsa, took home two complete trolling motor tanks, while a design technician from Ensenada, transported and shared his own moulding equipment to build prototype models.
There were also stories of innovation and people going above and beyond what was expected. One of the hardware technicians replicated a full reworking station in his garage: assembling, modifying, repairing and supporting our 15+ hardware team and our software. It was a bit like a workshop open to the public. Work included was modifying CPU Cards, baseboards, assembling and disassembling units, repairs, adding testing modification for SW Team, etc.
Inevitably, there will always be parts of the job that are impossible to conduct from home but aside from this, the Navico R&D team have adapted well to working remotely ensuring that productivity remains high and project deadlines are hit.