Across Hitachi Rail our priority remains constant: the health, safety and well-being of our employees and stakeholders. To navigate the challenges initiated by the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, our teams have worked to change our operations, procedures and safety measures to ensure we can continue to deliver for our customers around the world.

Hear from Executive Officer of Hitachi Rail Group Safety, Health, Environment, Quality, Ulderigo Zona, about some of the new processes and solutions brought in across the global rail business.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has severely tested our communities both at work and in our personal lives. It happened so quickly; and we had to act accordingly. I managed our central task force, which then managed an additional 13 localised task forces for our core operating regions – we are a truly global brand and with the virus impacting different geographical regions at different times – consolidating our procedures and best-practice activity was our priority. However as well as being a challenge – we saw this as an advantage. We have offices in Beijing and we are present in five continents so the ability to receive information from all over the world was a decisive strength.”

“Our commitment was initially aimed at prevention. First we understood that we could not continue to travel the world as we had done – we therefore started by stopping intercontinental travel, and then closing the links even more at a local level, even before it was imposed by law. Each country continued to work with respect for social distancing and we limited the movement of our people whilst ensuring business continuity for our global projects. Our role is to move people and goods globally so our businesses could not stop; as soon as it was safe to do so, we worked with our customers to ensure transport operations were not affected.”

""We spent almost two weeks resetting the company, based on what we believed to be the first barrier to spreading the virus: social distance""

“We have redesigned global production layouts, identified crisis areas, introduced shift patterns and expanded smart working capability - a process that we had already started and set up in the “pre-COVID” era and that has been accelerated from this situation. We simply went from one day a week smart working to one hundred percent smart working at home for those who were able.”

“The key to our strategy and ability to be flexible is our employees who are at the heart of everything we do. There has been an excellent response to remote working for personal and family situations constrained by mobility restrictions. It is clear that, from this point, our company will be very different from the one before the pandemic.”

“Digitisation must be embraced even more so we can offer our teams the right tools to work effectively when they cannot be together and communication is essential at the moment – both internally and externally. We want our teams to collaborate more than ever and we are putting in measures to ensure that everyone is supported and doesn’t feel isolated in any way.

""If we work together as one global team and support the communities in which we operate, we know that we will be able to make a real difference to society and use the current situation as a base for improving our lives and future working practices""