Leadership team shares with CTIA, the wireless industry association, how adopting new protocols in response to COVID-19 may yield permanent positive changes within the device repair eco-system.
America’s wireless companies continue to offer critical aid and support during COVID-19, equipping students, seniors, and other impacted communities with necessary resources and tools. Today, we’re highlighting AGiRepair, a leader in the mobile device repair industry with their corporate headquarters based out of Greensburg, PA. AGiRepair provides over 6,000 school districts with mobile device support solutions for their 1:1 initiatives and partners with over 5,000 repair depots for MacBook and iPad support.
Last week, we virtually sat down with AGiRepair President John Yetsconish, Vice President/CSO Jeremy Bilsky, and Technical Manager Jonathan Nestor, to learn more about what their company is doing to support their team and their customers during the pandemic.
Team Protection Protocols
AGiRepair deployed COVID-19 safety protocols in accordance with CDC and state guidelines beginning in March 2020 to safeguard their team. Employees able to work remotely have worked from home since March, and for those working on-site, several measures were taken to ensure the safety of those employees and mitigate the risks of COVID-19. In addition to temperature checks and increased cleaning and maintenance throughout the day, the following protocols were implemented:
- Staggered Shifts: Traditionally, two eight-hour shifts run at AGiRepair and with over 100 technicians on site. In an effort to socially distance technicians, three six-hour staggered shifts were introduced with zero overlap from April to July. Despite the fact technicians were working six hours, they were still paid for their entire eight-hour shift.
- Reduction of Shared Workspaces: Naturally, introducing an additional shift is helpful in socially distancing employees. However, AGiRepair went a step further to properly safeguard employees. They purchased plexiglass and a CNC machine to retro fit barriers to workstations and desks. Custom-fit barriers have now been made available for purchase to their customers.
- Ultraviolet Disinfection Procedure: Upon arrival and before shipping back to the customer, all mobile devices are disinfected with a proprietary ultraviolet light, killing over 99% of viruses and bacteria within ten seconds. All incoming mail and internal office paperwork are subjected to the same procedure. This safeguards all employees from potential fomite transmission.
- Availability of PPE & Other Safety Supplies: AGiRepair rolled out a mandatory mask mandate in March, prior to state and national guidelines, and provided all employees with masks. They also made hand sanitizer readily available in many areas of their facility.
- Increased PTO & Adjusted Attendance Policy: All full-time employees were given an additional week of PTO. This provided time off if employees did not feel comfortable working in the office or needed time to make alternate childcare arrangements.
- Signage: To maintain vigilance, AGiRepair posted signage throughout the building to keep the importance of social distancing top of mind.
Additionally, for those employees that were exposed or tested positive to COVID-19, all state and national protocols were followed.
Helping Schools in Times of Crisis
AGiRepair has a large presence in the education spectrum, supporting over 6,000 school districts nationwide. As more school districts adapt to increased distance learning, AGiRepair has responded with new adjusted strategies to help ease this transition. One simple strategy was expanding their product line to offer safety supplies to schools. Other strategies include:
- Ship Direct to Students: Instead of sourcing device repairs through the schools, AGiRepair now empowers schools, students, and parents by shipping boxes, shipping supplies, and labels directly to the students’ homes. This eases the school’s burden on deploying repairs and provides the quickest and most convenient route of repair, decreasing any interruption in learning for the student.
- National Safety Supply Donations: In September, AGiRepair deployed a new program for free COVID-19 safety supply starter kits for schools experiencing financial hardship or sourcing difficulties. Kits include hand sanitizer, hand sanitizer dispensers and stands, masks, and floor decals.
- Term Adjustment on Protection Plans: AGiRepair offers comprehensive protection plans for K-12 devices via AGiProtect. With the introduction of the CARES Act, AGiRepair has worked with schools utilizing these relief funds to accommodate their funding timeline. They’ve also adjusted payment terms on these plans and honored premium grace periods.
- Sourcing High-Demand Devices and Accessories: The sudden influx of distance learning created an unprecedented high demand for 1:1 K-12 devices, White Glove Deployment services, and accessories such chargers and cables. To support this demand, AGiRepair took an all-hands-on-deck approach. This started with internal cross training and optional overtime to support organizations for white glove deployment nationwide. In all, they ramped up deployment for over 35,000 devices in 60 days, while maintaining COVID-19 protocols.
What’s Next for AGiRepair and the Wireless Industry
It is no secret the COVID-19 pandemic has already dramatically affected our daily lives. It is also taught AGiRepair key lessons, chiefly highlighting the need and reaffirmed their commitment to support schools and students through all styles of learning.
While they plan to continue to offer direct-to-student services, this is only the beginning. AGiRepair prides themselves on new program initiatives to adapt to their customers ever-changing needs. The leadership team plans to reimagine their services to increase one-to-one touchpoints.
They also plan to continue their collaboration with nonprofits for underserved markets to provide the services needed to help close the digital divide by providing equipment to those most in need in order to stay connected.
Long-term implications from the pandemic remain unclear for the wireless industry, but Yetsconish predicts companies will retool their services to support an expanding customer base. As more schools adopt remote learning and more companies envision a more permanent solution in remote work, Yetsconish believes: “this [the pandemic] has and will continue to shape the way we do business forever.”