The month of March 2020, is not one that I will forget in my lifetime

I would like to take a moment to pause and convey my sincere thanks to the amazing work being done by the various Challenger teams to ensure the safety of the community. I feel privileged to work alongside this remarkable group of people, who have dedicated themselves to this business and its ongoing journey through what has been an extremely turbulent time.

Our Sales and Marketing Manager stepped up to an SOS call from Leading Aged Care Services Australia (LASA) to help its members source all the required PPE which is in such desperate shortage of supply. This led to many hours of talking to multiple providers across some remote regions of Australia, trying to facilitate their needs and safeguard their residents and staff. Our Alley has managed over one thousand phone calls and an untold quantity of emails, trying to calm the situation in the community, whilst at the same time coordinating supply chains and the logistical aspects of this mammoth undertaking. At some stage of this process, I had visions of an Australian Airforce Hercules delivering vitally needed supplies with Alley pushing the pallet.   

In the operational side of our business, a big shout out needs to go the Operations team, who had to re-pivot from a predominantly Hospitality based business, to an emergency response operation, to deal with the challenges brought upon us by the COVID-19 crises.  We had a call out from our Aged Care clients, where they identified clear shortcomings in their various in-house operations and desperately needed to supplement cleaning and specialised sanitation services across multiple sites, spread across multiple states. This proved an immense challenge as we found ourselves having to mobilise teams across fast closing borders, ridiculously tight supply chains with significant shortages and the implementation of new state based rules to which we all needed to adapt to on an almost daily basis.

All this work still needed to be delivered at a high standard with respect and sensitivity to the needs of the elderly residents of our community, who were quickly facing social isolation and complete lock downs in some cases.

In our Child Care sector, a very similar scenario ensued, whereby any outbreak of cold or flu like symptoms by any of the users of the centres, required our teams to mobilise an emergency response, in order to ensure that the centre would be safe to use the following day. This resulted in many late nights of our teams scrubbing, sanitising and bringing the facilities back online ready for the following morning.

It is, in this fundamentally opposing climate that the operations teams needed to function. On the one side of the business we were closing operations, almost faster than we could keep up, whilst on the other side we were experiencing extreme levels of demand for what is a very specialised service, with unique skillsets.

Finally, a special mention needs to go out to our warehouse and maintenance team. Those guys have above and beyond. Sacrificing their family time on weekends and working late into the night, just to keep the entire operation supplied, whilst at the same time decommissioning sites due to closures. A quick note on the closures of many of our valued clients facilities, my thoughts are with you and my support is steadfast during these difficult times.

The month of March 2020, is not one that I will forget in my lifetime.  


Vadim Gurevich





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