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Virtually Collaborative: Staying Productive While Working Remotely

As more companies move to remote work for employees in the wake of COVID-19, the customers and partners we serve here at Gerber are finding themselves impacted in new and unexpected ways. 

For me personally, the prospect of remote work is nothing new; and fortunately, there is no shortage of tools to assist. As a veteran of many Silicon Valley companies with internationally distributed teams, I have at various stages of my career worked remotely from planes, trains, automobiles -- and home -- since 2008, an era when working from home was simpler and our main concern was practicing good time-management. Needless to say, I’ve used my fair share of collaborative platforms and tools. 

While I have a lot of experience with the flexibility and autonomy of being able to do my job from any corner of the world with an internet connection, many of my colleagues, partners and customers are now finding themselves thrown into the world of remote work for the first time in light of the coronavirus, and have been asking me for guidance. When you have to design and produce garments, collaboration is essential -- especially since in the fashion supply chain, so many experts must be involved in every step of the process. End-to-end solutions are not just the latest accessory, but an absolute must-have. 

So, let’s take a look at how you, my dear colleagues, partners, customers -- and soon-to-be customers! -- can best manage remote work during this uncertain time.

A few remote working essentials -- ready to go at a moment's notice!

Cloud Applications

Perhaps not surprisingly, cloud-based applications are critical for flexible collaboration and creativity on-the-go while working remotely. Cloud-based communication tools like Slack, Skype and others allow quick and easy communication both in the office and from home, and have become the norm for most. Similarly, for my technical and graphic designer friends, cloud-based tools like YuniquePLM mean all you need is your laptop and an internet connection to access your data in the cloud, so you can keep creating without any interruptions to your workflow. And, because YuniquePLM represents a unified source of product information, it makes collaborating with colleagues and teams a snap -- no matter where they may be.

Time Saving Applications

For me, working remotely greatly reduces distractions and allows me to reclaim time lost to office distractions. This means any way remote workers can find and reduce time drains -- such as unnecessarily iterative processes -- is a must. I know most of our customers who are pattern makers and fashion designers have absolutely come to rely on AccuMark 3D. The real benefit to AccuMark 3D is being able to save time (and money) by connecting your entire supply chain. This means you can move from idea to “production ready” in just a matter of hours. All of the extra time you save can then be reinvested into creating additional colorways, 3D simulations, and better fitting final products. 

Community

Especially in times like this, it’s important to hold your community close by. You don’t need to lose out on the benefit of having a community of coworkers and colleagues in the working-from-home equation. Whether you manage collections, manage production, or are a designer, the Gerber Technology Community is an online forum offering you just-in-time help and advice from Gerber customers and experts around the world, as well as Gerber staff. You can post questions and comments in any language you like, and, generally, receive a helpful reply or feedback within one business day. All free of charge, of course. Wondering how to install AccuMark locally to be able to work from home? This is a great question for the Community! 

Making Sure Your Supplies Are Well Stocked

Our new normal -- at least for the time being -- means parts, supplies, and retailers may be harder to reach or find. For me as a remote worker, I typically do not leave the house to find something if it can be easily purchased online because it means I can save time; and for the rest of you, this may also be your new reality. Gerber’s eSTORE is always open; and being virtual, there is no standing in line for Gerber certified blades, grinding stones, or swivels. For any of my customers or partners out there worried about their own production delays, fear not. You can shop from your laptop or any mobile device, and the eSTORE accepts the world’s major currencies. My pro-tip? Stock-up now and make sure you are production ready through the summer, if not beyond.

The Gerber Technology eSTORE

Remote Services

When I need technical help, I’m quick to pick up the phone. But, with many of my IT colleagues distributed around the world, it’s just more practical to allow them to remote into my devices so they can see first-hand what is going on and speed up the troubleshooting process. Gerber also offers a similar service for customers called GERBERconnect, which allows Gerber-certified technicians to securely access your Gerber system remotely to investigate software or system faults, troubleshooting, uploading software enhancements, and more -- all with the intent of keeping your uptime stable and your production secure. 

Of course, remote services also include remote training, and since many find themselves quarantined at home at the moment, make sure to take advantage of Gerber University, our online learning portal. Schools and universities around the country may be closing, but GerberU is always in session. You can take on-demand classes at your own leisure, or sign up for a virtual class led in real-time by a live instructor. 

Final Thoughts

So, what else do I recommend for successful remote work? A nice Earl Grey with a splash of milk, and some Bach -- but perhaps that’s just me. I’m curious to hear from you, dear friends, about how you’re weathering this storm and what your tips and tricks are for maintaining productivity? Comment below and let me know or email me at michael.cooksey@gerbertechnology.com

 

 

 

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