Sept 16, 2019

Planning for Protests

It is a great time to be in the face mask and umbrella business in Hong Kong at the moment! I was recently in Hong Kong in the middle of the protesting and got to witness first hand what is happening in their amazing city while attending Asia Fruit Logistica. It wasn’t entirely without trepidation.

Whether I align with any given cause or not I am always amazed and impressed how momentum builds around a situation and how it can manifest itself. As an individual our issue or voice is all but silent, yet when you get enough umbrellas the same colour in a group…

Every year there is generally a cohort from Jenkins that head up to Asia Fruit Logistica. This year saw myself, Tom McLaughlin, Jo Mackie and Tony Sayle head north. The protests unfolding in Hong Kong put us, and most attendees of the show, in an interesting position. The planning process for this show annually is normally fairly straight forward, but this year a lot of different factors needed to be taken into account. Firstly, as a company do we believe the risks are suffeciently low that we should be attending the show? Secondly, if we are attending we shouldn’t insist that staff attend and provide the option instead. Thirdly, while over there, what plans do we need in place should somnething go astray and rubber bullets or water canons are heading our way or our subway station is hit by tear gas?

Every season or every year we have some repeatitive tasks or functions that are normally just a case of ‘rinse and repeat’ but then every now and again we get a curve ball tossed our way that creates a cause for pause and enlisting the support of others to help us solve problems. In our case regarding Hong Kong our travel agent, insurer and MFAT all became important confidants and allys in recalibrating our plans and creating contingencies. Thankfully everything went without event.

Whether planning for protests or trying to get your cherries to last another week in the supply chain, it pays to have the right support around you to provide the confidence it requires to make the big decisions.

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