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In March 2020, worldwide lockdowns expedited a company-wide work from home arrangement and forced companies to begin managing its people and processes online. Comprising of approximately 500 office-based employees located in Guyana, Trinidad, Suriname, Miami, Houston, Mexico, and Colombia, we have seen a significant increase in productivity since our digital transition. Already equipped with Microsoft Teams, WhatsApp chats and our new open-source Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system LASER, we were off to the right start.
“A virtual working environment and partial work from home were always part of our goal, as all our offices must collaborate daily. However, the COVID-19 Pandemic was an accelerating force to help us achieve this ahead of schedule. We have not looked back since,” said Amanda Daly, Senior Human Resource Officer.
Ramps Logistics’ HR team said during annual appraisal meetings, team members reported that since the new Hybrid work system there is less time spent in traffic and less money spent on gas. The company also saves on electricity and consumables like stationery. This new system allows employees to manage their time to suit their schedules best. “Multitasking during the day has become a breeze and maintaining a work/life balance is a central part of managing our mental and physical health,” Daly shares.
Since the removal of restrictions worldwide in 2022, we have noticed many small and large companies mandating their staff to return to the office. After two years of benefitting from a sustainable work-from-home structure, many traditional managers regressed to a pre-pandemic culture. Ramps Logistics did the opposite and placed more focus on redefining its hybrid culture and implementing digital frameworks to support its new work model. As of October 2022, more than 80% of the Ramps teams in various locations work with a system that encourages them to balance working from home and only utilising office days when necessary.
Hybridised Systems and Space
To facilitate growth during the Pandemic, Ramps Logistics converted its main offices in Guyana and Trinidad into bookable rooms. Employees complete an online Meeting Room Booking Form, select the office room they prefer and the date and time for their office day. One way Ramps incentivise in-office meetings is providing light refreshments (coffee, tea, fruits, snacks) if needed.
Our Colombia, Mexico and US based teams utilise coworking buildings providing an ultramodern shared space with a communal bathroom, top-of-the-line kitchens, table-tennis boards, and other amenities. These spaces allow our teams to network with other businesses and network with a community of likeminded individuals.
Thrust Towards Digitisation
In 2018, Ramps Logistics formed a Research and Development division to conceptualise, initiate and launch new technology driven projects. Today, Ramps employs in-house coders at its Guyana and Trinidad offices who develop new apps and modules. These modules link and store data and facilitate functions from vendor contracts and quotations to client contracts, work orders, invoices, purchase orders and financial reports. This team was responsible for launching the company’s patented software, LASER, an in-house equivalent to ERP systems like SAP, Ariba, or Microsoft Dynamics.
“LASER has also allowed our team to digitise our Human Resource Leave Management System. Our employees can now apply for vacation via an app on their phones where managers can quickly approve it. Additionally, to aid in managing our team’s performance, we recently rolled out a module for Weekly Priority Lists where employees can track their completion of tasks and supervisors have real-time visibility into their workload,” Daly said.
The Ramps hybrid structure allows the team to work cross-functionally. This makes it easier for a Manager in Guyana to lead a full team in Trinidad and vice versa. It also allows persons commuting from remote areas to work from home when needed.
Embracing The Future of Work
At Ramps, we believe a good company is built on three principal foundations: People, Processes and Technology. We invested heavily in new technology, revamped our recruitment, onboarding and training, and are assiduously working to keep improving processes.
“In the next 10 years, we anticipate growing to 5,000 employees. Virtual work has forced us to transform and become much better at remotely managing employees. We plan to continue with this hybrid model and inspire others to embrace it in their own way,” Daly revealed.