Aramco, through its Sea Water Injection Department (SWID), recently received international accolades for its response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The company received the “COVID-19 Response and Recovery of the Year” Award given by the Disaster Recovery Institute International (DRI) at the organization’s virtual Resilience Excellence Summit.
The DRI is a New York-based education and accreditation nonprofit that helps organizations around the world prepare for and recover from disasters.
SWID’s efforts to manage the pandemic were highlighted, as was the way it modeled and adapted its unique operations.
Aramco Trumps Rivals
A rival finalist was AT&T, a multinational conglomerate and the world’s largest telecommunications company. Participants in the award included Bank of America, airline JetBlue, aerospace and defense contractor Northrop Grumman, pharmaceutical retailer Walgreens, accountants Ernst & Young MENA, and insurer SAI Global.
Khalid H. Al Jamea, manager of SWID, said the department’s business continuity in the face of the pandemic was vital to Aramco’s operations. “It is critical as we pump in seawater to pump out oil.
“(The award) is attributed to early adaptation of corporate guidelines for our needs, earnest efforts across the management team for business continuity, and empowerment of a dedicated COVID-19 response task force,” he said.
Focus on People
The cornerstone of our approach to business continuity and resilience during the pandemic was its focus on people, including a focus on health, safety, security, and the environment, as well as employee engagement.
SWID invested in training its task force, such as accrediting its Business Continuity coordinator, and its employees, including promoting online courses offered by the World Health Organization.
The continuity response was also centered on empathy in a wellness and employee engagement program, accommodating employees’ circumstances whether living under lockdown, being an active COVID-19 case, dealing with preexisting conditions, or being considered essential to run SWID’s many geographically scattered facilities.
SWID also developed a COVID-19 online dashboard to monitor the department’s active cases, their contacts, and their recovery.
Also, leaning on digital transformation, facilities were enabled with remote control features that enable the operation of equipment in one facility remotely from an adjacent facility should the need arise. A transition to virtual meetings enabled remote work from home for employees residing around the Kingdom.
A Leading Example
A COVID-19 weekly management meeting was conducted virtually to provide updates on resilience and business continuity, share the latest health instructions, and guide employee wellness and engagement amid the pandemic.
Ahmed M. Orfali, the COVID-19 task force leader, said, “This approach was good for our people, effective for our business continuity, and evidently a leading example deserving an award from the dedicated global organization for business continuity and disaster recovery.”
— The Arabian Sun: April 28, 2021 | Vol. LXXVI, No. 17