James Crosby, Cory Brothers Logistics Director - work & life during COVID19
Summary about your business and your role? Cory Brothers is a leading maritime service provider. Established in 1842, we’ve been through many “world changing events” although none like this. Cory Brothers deals with International Supply Chain on ALL modes: ocean, air, road & rail. We’re experts in Food, Drink and Ingredients and very proud to feed the nation. My role is to lead the team, create and set out the business objectives and ensure we remain on target and in good shape. We are worldwide so I ensure that we are all aligned, motivated & joined up.
How have you been meeting the challenges of Coronavirus? We were prepared earlier than most. Dealing with customers and suppliers in China on a daily basis, we were closely informed of the difficulties they were facing as the tragedy unfolded. Subsequently, as the virus came closer to Europe we took steps to deal with most outcomes: ensured staff were informed, that our services could overcome the increasing challenges. Our entire staff responded to these changes with typical positivity. Parts of our business are Government categorised as KEY WORKERS (Logistics & Port Agency), so we carry on doing what we have always have. All of our offices are WFH and it’s a success. We advised ALL our staff that they were safe, valued and reassuringly, that they would be paid.
What role has digital / social media played in staying in touch with clients/customers, keeping your business? Massive. We place great value on ALL digital and social media. We continually invest in digital solutions. Our Group Marketing Manager is doing amazing work to ensure our business is visibly and positively prominent and our services messages are clear. There’s been a massive spike in engagement through our increased marketing activity. Our social media platforms are part of our “day to day” engagement – the upswing on these alone have been incredible.
Tell us about the importance of family and staying connected with friends and colleagues? Vital. For the business and our own mental health and wellbeing. Cory invest in mental health service provision (through UNUM) which if FREE to all our staff. Lockdown has provided clarity on the importance of staying connected with your loved ones. It’s just the same with your colleagues and your wider networks. We’re re-connecting with people that we inadvertently let drift out of view. There is no shame in that (we all do it) but we’re seeing how important it is to make more effort. I now engage with more colleagues more regularly though our digital platforms: video meetings primarily. It sounds odd to say but the distance has bought us closer!
How will this change you, the way you live and do business? As a family with two young boys, my wife and I re-evaluated what is important: our children want time with their Mum & Dad and are not so bothered about going to the zoo or the park! They just crave our attention. Parents know this of course, but it’s easy to become complacent when you’re so busy. Consequently, I’m being more disciplined to ensure I spend more time with my family. Work wise, our business is our people and they deserve to be looked after. I feel business travel and seeing our customers & suppliers remains important and hope this returns, when the time is right. Our business motto is “never standing still”. We are certainly moving forward, adapting and making it work.