Agility during the Pandemic and Beyond

By Jennifer Jane T. Go

Do you still remember how NLEX Corporation demonstrated agility during the pandemic?   

It was in March 2020 when the Philippines was locked down for the first time because of the Covid-19 virus.  This meant staying home for non-frontliners.  This meant managing NLEX and SCTEX from home.    

A crisis meeting was immediately convened by the NLEX Corporation President and General Manager, J. Luigi L. Bautista.  This resulted in daily Management Committee (Mancom) checkpoint meetings to bring together and continuously collaborate amongst functional units.  Through this forum, the Mancom organized and strategized next steps to adapt and address the urgent needs of all employees, and to ensure the continued delivery of service it has committed to its motoring public, despite the prevailing restrictions and challenges.   

NLEX employees’ well-being came first in the agenda.  Then, the business updates.   

Divisional, Departmental, and Sectional checkpoint meetings were likewise held on a daily basis to listen and know what was happening on the ground and to steer the organization towards a general direction.  “Ears on the ground,” they say. 

Gradually, organizational changes were introduced.  Employees and frontliners were provided home-to-office shuttling, quarantine facilities, online medical support, office and workspace fit out to ensure safe spacing, hygiene, and disinfection. Video conferencing applications were made available through Zoom and MS Teams. Project management used digital platforms for remote communication and monitoring of site progress.   

Though early in its implementation stage, the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) system was seen as a solution to prevent infection transmissibility in cash transactions.  This government’s push for RFID 100, required a scale up of electronic transactions and an abrupt adoption of the digital culture amongst toll road users.   

This pivot was the most challenging of all.  It required a shift in payment means from cash to online top up and electronic payments. More dauntingly, this change required the cultural transformation in the mindset of  the toll road users.   

For NLEX, this meant technology accuracy and reliability, operational readiness from well-trained frontliners and service providers,  urgent equipment, RFID stickers, and spares by supply chain, effective and persuasive communications to get toll road users to act and adapt to electronic means.  In the end, it was all about the speedy delivery of service, regardless.   

Along the way, there were trials, experimentations, learnings, and corrections.  All these and our ongoing improvements for the delivery of our toll service is all part of the evolution.  

This is the NLEX agility I am referring to.   

There are four (4) vital aspects in this agility story, namely, collaboration, having our “ears on the ground,”  making organizational changes as we adapt to situations of crisis, scale up, cultural shifts, digitization, etc.  and constant improvement and refinement of our service delivery

Business agility is necessary for us to survive the unrelenting challenges happening in our industry, our country, the world, that affects our organization’s existence.  Within the line of sight are the challenges of the Connector Road, Candaba Viaduct, the Pasig Portrero bridge, and the goal of Open Road Tolling by 2024, to name a few. 

With the NLEX agility inherent in the iCARE culture, changes and transformation should not be feared, but embraced.   

Photo by on Unsplash

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