Small company wins accolades for big efforts
When it comes to corporate social responsibility initiatives, it is often the big enterprises that garner attention, while small and medium-sized firms are rarely mentioned. However, a Chinese SME has managed to overturn the general perception and garnered widespread praise for its COVID-19-related work in Wuhan.
What makes Hangzhou, Zhejiang province-based Zhiyun Jiankang Health Consulting's efforts even more creditworthy is they were made when it was struggling for survival.
Kuang Ming, CEO of Zhiyun Jiankang, said despite the struggles, the company donated 100 devices equipped with its chronic disease management system to the then hardest-hit city Wuhan to help in the epidemic fight. In addition, the company also sent a team of experts to assist with the usage of the devices. The team arrived in Wuhan on Jan 30, the sixth day of the Lunar New Year holiday, and returned when the lockdown was lifted on April 8.
Kuang recalled that Lei Bo, a doctor and member of a medical assistance team sent to Hubei province, once said that fear should not be an inhibiting factor while providing succor to the needy as one gets very few chances to serve the needy in time of need.
"Lei's words made quite an impression on me. I realized that my country and compatriots needed me and we decided to rise up to the challenge without any hesitation, despite being a small firm," said Kuang.
The company's devices equipped with chronic management system proved to be of immense help to the medical professionals in Wuhan, especially while treating COVID-19 patients with diseases such as diabetes. The process was laborious as it included frequent monitoring of blood sugar levels in a day and manual storage of data.
After installing Zhiyun Jiankang's system, nurses no longer needed to manually write down the data as the system automatically uploaded the patient data after each test to the central computer for matching with the patients' medical records.
To ensure that the system worked properly and was able to help people in need, the company sent its staff to maintain the system despite mobility challenges and risk of infection from hospitals during the outbreak.
"In the early days of the outbreak, each of our colleagues who went to hospitals for system maintenance needed to complete a 14-day quarantine," Kuang said.
"Although the isolation of employees posed great challenges to the normal operations of the company, we did not stop as we felt that providing services was what we should do," he said.
Wu Gangliang, a researcher at the China Enterprise Reform and Development Society, said: "For SMEs, there is no contradiction between ensuring one's survival and fulfilling social responsibilities. The fight against COVID-19 offers SMEs a great opportunity to enhance their brand image and influence."
Compared to large enterprises which tend to have longer decision-making procedure to put a CSR project into practice, most of the SMEs have relatively flexible ways and shorter preparation time to live up to their social obligations. With the help of internet and other platforms, the SMEs sometimes have clearer sight of a CSR case and are able to make faster reaction, Wu said.