As resourceful as the business world has been in responding to COVID-19, coping with a stay-at-home environment is not simply a matter of setting laptops onto dining tables and scheduling GoToMeetings. For professionals in engineering, product development and manufacturing, it takes nearly superhuman resolve to maintain critical paths—especially those working in the automotive industry.
Many companies look to Altia to keep their critical paths on track, not only auto manufacturers but also makers of medical devices, consumer appliances and other products. Fortunately, this is not the first time we’ve dealt with unexpected circumstances. We know how to keep things moving.
In 2012, the Waldo Canyon Fire became what was, at the time, the most destructive forest fire in Colorado history, consuming 29 square miles of forest and destroying nearly 350 homes. It also came within a few miles of Altia’s Colorado Springs headquarters. It forced the company to evacuate its offices for weeks.
Yet even back then, eight years ago, the company’s intellectual property and work processes were backed up in the cloud, making it possible for Altia designers and developers to continue their work remotely. Nothing was left unaccounted for; even the company’s main phone number was re-routed to staff in Ohio, where it was answered promptly.
Because Altia is a worldwide enterprise, our teams in Detroit, Japan, Korea, India and elsewhere, in addition to our Colorado Springs personnel, are used to coordinating work on a 24-hour cycle. Co-workers conduct daily 15-minute status meetings to collaborate and solve problems. Those meetings, done in the past on a “stand-up” basis with participants other nations in the room via video conference, are continuing virtually.
We also keep things moving by using a number of strategic development tools. Git, the distributed version-control software development platform, is a workhorse for sharing source code on projects like demos and proofs of concept. We also employ other means to stay in constant communication. Our agile development process, cloud-based sharing systems, and other protocols enable all our specialists to stay on the same page and on schedule—not only with each other, but also with our customers.
In the automotive industry, where models typically are on a three-year development cycle, coordination among thousands of vendors and distributed design teams is essential. Altia is doing its part by working alongside chip companies, operating system companies, Tier 1 suppliers and OEMs to develop the industry’s most sophisticated embedded user interfaces for the world’s next great products.
Growth at Altia has not stopped—in fact we’re continuing to hire new people. Our experience in weathering recessions, natural disasters, industry downturns and more, are serving us well during the coronavirus pandemic. After every one of these setbacks, our company has emerged smarter and stronger. Altia professionals are designing automotive interfaces from their basements right now—but as the pandemic subsides, we’ll be on the front lines once again. Using our tools, our processes, and most of all our determination, we’ll be helping our global customers to not only meet their design and production timetables, but also to imagine and manufacture the advanced vehicles of tomorrow.