It’s hard to remember when it was a normal day at the Meyer company, a logistics logistics and logistics services firm based in Munich, Germany.
But it was just before noon on March 5, 2006, when the flu season was officially in full swing.
“We had the flu, we got sick, we didn’t want to go home,” recalled Meyer’s chief executive, Andreas Meyer.
“We didn’t have the time to call home and say, ‘Is this what we have?'”
The flu was one of the biggest concerns for Meyer, which had its own vaccine.
“It was like, ‘Oh my God, what am I going to do?'” he said.
“Our team was like: ‘We’re going to work.'”
A year and a half later, the company still has a lot of work to do.
Meyer’s staff has to be split into two parts, and the two teams are on a mission to solve a problem with the company’s technology.
In order to do so, they need to solve the flu problem in an efficient manner.
“A lot of the times, we’re going from a ‘yes, but’ to a ‘no, we can do it,'” said Meyer.
“I am in my 40s.
My age is normal.
I don’t have any flu symptoms.
And I don of course have the flu,” said the company CEO.
“But my company is still trying to figure out how to use our technology.
It’s not a trivial thing to do.”
When Meyer first started working at Meyer, his colleagues were already worried about the flu.
In Germany, it was common to be sick on days like March 5.
“Most of us were really concerned.
We all said, ‘I have to get home, I have to go to work.
We have to do this,'” said the former employee.
In order to be able to function normally, Meyer had to create a unique workflow.
“For example, when we’re in Munich and we’re driving, we drive the car in a straight line,” he said, “and when we get home we drive our car the other way.
It becomes very complicated.”
But that was not the only thing Meyer needed to worry about.
In the end, he said that a lot came down to timing.
“The first time we were in Munich I drove around in a circle.
The second time I was there I drove straight, but the third time I went in the other direction.”
When it came to the logistics of the flu outbreak, Meyer’s solution worked.
“There was a big difference between when the weather was good and when it wasn’t.
And the second thing was the flu came in,” he explained.
“You didn’t see it on the street, but you could feel it.
So we had to use the same approach to this pandemic.”
And so the team at Meyer was able to come up with a solution.
“At the beginning, we tried to make it very simple,” said Meyer, who worked on the project with his co-workers.
“And now it’s really complicated.
And we are very proud of it.”
But the logistics company has not stopped there.
Meyer is now working on another project with the same company, one that is even more complex and challenging.
“When we are talking about a pandemic, we are constantly trying to think of ways to make things easier,” said his co‑founder.
“Sometimes it is the logistics team who helps us solve problems.”
For the company, this new project is one of those solutions.
“I would say that the logistics is a bigger challenge than the flu is,” Meyer said.
He is now going to try to develop a product that is more suited for logistics and also for communication.
“That’s what the company needs to do,” said former employee Sebastian Meyer.