Making sure food supply and demand are addressed, even while working from home


Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, a typical work week for Zian Serranilla, a Key Accounts Executive of snacks company Mondelez Philippines assigned to the SM team, consisted of administrative and field days. 

“Field days are composed of visits to the head office of the accounts I’m handling for negotiation and alignment meetings as well as to stores for the usual audit/store check,” Serranilla told BusinessMirror. 

With the declaration of the enhanced community quarantine last March, Serranilla’s routine drastically changed. 

“Since I’m handling a retail giant in the country, it was only one of the few supermarkets that remained open during the critical period of the lockdown. With this, people flocked to their stores to stock up on their pantry supplies. It was crucial for us to constantly fill-up the shelves to satisfy the growing demand,” she explained.  

Being with the company for the last four years, Serranilla, 26, had already gotten the hang of working in the field. In any other circumstance, she would have had an easier time doing her job if she could personally monitor the situation and physically address the supply and demand of their snacks products. But since she is one of the company’s personnel who was advised to work from home throughout the lockdown, Serranilla’s job became a lot more challenging.

“The lockdown definitely amplified the value of technology in getting things done. It was challenging to implement store-specific directions virtually since that would be best accompanied with actual store visits to gauge the competition on field,” she pointed out.  

Serranilla’s co-worker, Shaun Mazen Sim, a Customer Finance Specialist at Mondelez Philippines, is also working from home and is also faced with similar technology-related challenges. 

Sim’s team is in charge of monitoring of collections and releasing of orders, so his work is just as vital to the company’s operations as Serranilla’s. But unlike the latter, Sim’s job did not change in a big way following the declaration of the ECQ. That doesn’t mean that it’s any less challenging. 

“Before the lockdown, I’d get all the files I’ll be needing throughout the day before I start checking my emails and responding to them, then I carry on with my daily tasks. Although I can still do that from home, it’s important that I have stable internet connection. Since we were working from home, our home wi-fi is sometimes not strong enough to access the company’s systems or even the shared folders.”

Because Sim is also part of the company’s customer team, he was also used to face-to-face meetings with business partners and personal appointments with clients. 

“Now we had to stick with phone calls, communicate through emails and hold our meetings via Skype,” he added.

Asked how they were able to adjust to this new way of doing their work, both Serranilla and Sim are one in saying that it’s all just a matter of getting used to. 

“At the start, I was kind of uneasy with the work from home (WFH) set-up since it deviates from my usual workday routine. Eventually, I have come to realize that the key to getting comfortable with WFH is to establish a routine much like what one had prior to the lockdown. It will give a sense of order, which will help us carry out our tasks the same way we did, just in a different work setting. A usual WFH routine for me consists of several online meetings/calls and a chunk of administrative work,” Serranilla shared. 

Sim admits that “WFH arrangements were initially tough since there are added challenges to the tasks we’re doing.” 

“Nowadays, I just appreciate that I don’t have to wake up really early in the morning just to get to work,” he added.

Even with all the challenges that they had to hurdle, both are nonetheless very pleased with the efforts made by Mondelez Philippines to put a premium on their safety first, and as Serranilla puts it, “Considers its people as its top priority.” It’s one of the ways Serranilla and Sim are able to make an impact through their work with Mondelez Philippines.

While the two were able to work from home, Mondelez Philippines’ courageous Manufacturing colleagues continued producing snack products throughout the lockdown. To ensure everyone’s safety, transportation to and from the office in Paranaque was provided, as well as on-site housing for those who needed it. Stricter sanitation and social distancing measures were also put in place at the 57-year strong manufacturing plant.

“[The company] has also been transparent with the position of the business in this climate, limited trips for essential/business-critical items only, conducted regular health surveys to keep track of everyone’s health condition, and sent over gloves, masks, sanitation wipes, alcohol and our IATF passes early on,” Serranilla further shared.

Sim concurs. “We were also not supposed to go to the office if not needed, to maintain social distancing. Our frontliners were also provided PPEs and necessary safety kits. Management also sets up regular calls with the employees to make sure we were safe and to update us on the issues,” he said. 


The difficulties arising from Covid-19 and the extreme measures it has forced authorities to impose, such as the lockdowns, are also being eased, however, by some people whose work may not easily draw attention, but is nonetheless vital to making our lives as normal as possible.

They are the “backliners”—the grocery store staff and market vendors who make sure we can buy basic items; the farmers and fishermen who put food in our markets and groceries; the bank employees; the Customs inspectors who must quickly clear cargo, especially vital equipment and supplies to fight the virus; pharmacists, garbage men, and the engineers and workmen who must rush to build or retrofit off-hospital quarantine centers, among others.

They cannot “stay at home” because they have tasks indispensable in this crisis.

In this series, the BusinessMirror pays tribute to them.

Home Covid-19 Updates Backliners Making sure food supply and demand are addressed, even while working from home

More from author

A LITTLE NIGHT OF MUSIC | Raul Sunico, Adrian Nicolas Ong shine in well-received recital

Music has been the go-to refuge of many anxious souls during this pandemic. And there’s nothing like a virtual...

WATCH | Kwentong Jollibee Valentine series 2021 shows how love can thrive amid pandemic

Widely-anticipated every year during Valentine's month, the latest batch of Kwentong Jollibee focuses on how love can give people...

RAY OF HOPE | 46 Hope St. soars with new single

No less than celebrated singer-songwriter Ebe Dancel is raving about them. “I discovered the band during one of those sleepless...

BETTER COLLABORATION | Gentle Bones join forces with Benjamin Kheng for chillin’ new single

Hot on the heels of his million-streaming Mandarin debut single, “Don’t You Know Yet?,” the singer-songwriter known as simply...

SMDC bags Developer of the Year Award

Despite the pandemic, 2020 has shaped up to be a banner year for SM Development Corporation (SMDC). The real...

Slapshock singer Jamir Garcia passes away

Rock singer Jamir Garcia, vocalist of the nu metal band Slapshock passed away shortly after he was found unresponsive...

foodpanda pro is the gift that keeps on giving

Christmas is just around the corner and not even the ongoing pandemic can stop the spirit of the coming...

Top News

2 COMMENTS

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

More from this section

Ito ang araw mo: Sun Life rallies millennials to take action on their goals

Sun Life Philippines will rally Millennials to hit the restart button on their dreams with a new digital campaign that prompts them to claim a new beginning in their journey towards a brighter future. Entitled “Ito ang Araw Mo,” the...

Random posts

NGCP, group to promote bicycle use in Guimaras

THE National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) has partnered with an organization that promotes bicycles made with locally sourced bamboo to boost ecotourism in the provincial and local governments of Guimaras. The grid operator, under its Green Spark program,...

BM Cycling Livestream

Graphic | BM Webinar

BM Broader Look Podcast