Federal contractors like Charles County’s SRL TotalSource might not have been hit by COVID-19 as hard as our restaurants and retail shops, but they’ve had to make adjustments and invest quite a bit in new equipment and PPE (personal protective equipment) to continue serving their clients, satisfy contracts, and ensure employee safety.
“While COVID has been detrimental, we can still run our business, said SRL’s Chrissy Kendall, Director of Financial Operations. “I must say, COVID has definitely posted some new challenges.” The Waldorf-headquartered business specializes in janitorial, medical, and IT support to the Federal Government. Their team of approximately 29 employees works in multiple states, including Maryland, Virginia, New York, Georgia, and Florida. Headquarters staff are all working from home, and of course, medical and janitorial workers are on site.
Digital Solutions to Reduce Risk
SRL TotalSources’ business model has adapted to a digital format, which has proven to be quite costly. They purchased additional laptops and VPN services so that office staff can work remotely.
They purchased a software for their janitorial staff. This software enables their janitorial leadership to lead while off site and allows their janitors to maintain the 6-foot social distancing recommendations. Before purchasing this software, all inventory, quality control, and inspections were completed in person via paper checklists. Now, everything can be completed digitally.
SRL is planning to stay in touch with their employees in the field by sending out a semi-monthly newsletter and utilizing the Microsoft suite of communication tools. “This will ensure that all our employees remain updated and informed, for attention to the value proposition that exists in the business culture,” said Kendall. “Although we have always prioritized frequent and clear communication with our staff, this state of emergency has tailored our perspective, and we now place a greater emphasis on communication.”
Finding More Contracts During COVID-19
Asked about post-COVID contracting work, Kendall said, “There will absolutely be more contracting opportunities. During the time we’ve been working remotely, we have submitted four different proposals for contracts. Contracts won’t ever stop—it’s just the way they’re executed that has changed.” One of the challenges has been the absence of onsite visits and pre-award meetings. Especially at the janitorial site visits, that are necessary to get an accurate perspective of the customer's desires.
The pandemic has allowed for more time to search out opportunities. The proposal and business development teams are focusing on creating new sales and recruitment channels, along with the development of strategic partners.
Most projects SRL finds attractive for pursuit involves strategic partners. “We’re always pursuing new relationships with partners that allow us growth in our capabilities,” said Kendall. “A lot of businesses try to focus on bigger companies. Sometimes it works out for them. However, we focus on capabilities. SRL pursues partner companies with vision and values that align with ours.”
Plans for Recovery
An internal phased return is planned for all headquarters staff, with an emphasis on health and safety. The plan begins with a circular rotation for commonly used areas of the office, with the goal of reducing person-to-person exposure.
Company leaders have been attending multiple webinars and training sessions during the pandemic, and their newfound knowledge is being converted and uploaded to the SRL University for managed learning and dissemination.
SRL is preparing their team for an unprecedented surge in government contract opportunities by growing and nurturing their supply channels and potential partnerships. By doing so, they will be equipped to respond, win, and execute more government contracts than ever.
For more information about Federal Contracting in Charles County, visit our web page on the Charles County Economic Development Department website. For business resources related to COVID-19, visit our Recovery Resources page.