CDO Foodsphere stands out as one of the companies that has actively helped the country during the COVID-19 pandemic. The company serves as a beacon of hope and an example of how an organization can turn challenges into opportunities and reap the rewards along the way.
CDO Foodsphere is not new to challenges. Part of its story is how it rose from the ashes after the original factory was completely cleared of fire in 1987. “The fire happened while the CDO was still in its fragile phase,” shares Jerome Ong, Foodsphere President & CEO, “The little business that our parents built with their hard-earned savings along with our workers’ livelihoods seemed impossible to bring back to life. But they were determined to pick up the pieces, get up from the ashes, and in just two days began the factory to enjoy again. ”
“The wonderful thing about my parents is that they always had a heart for people more than anything else. It was not just about making money. If they were intimidated by the difficulty of starting again, the thought of people losing their jobs overshadowed any fear they had. In the same way, they endured all the victims to provide a better future for their own children, they wanted to ensure that our employees work and be able to give their family a better life. Said Jerome.
The company faced many challenges, such as the Taal volcanic eruption, the effects of African swine fever (ASF), continuing challenges in raw materials and the severe continuing impact of the pandemic. To be more effective, President and CEO Jerome Ong simplified things by identifying key priorities for the company, which were their employees, their customers, and business continuity.
CDO Foodsphere knew the importance of timely and accurate information, especially during a crisis. “From the top and across the management team, we made sure we all communicated effectively. “During lockdowns, when our mobility and physical presence were hampered, we saw it as an opportunity rather than an obstacle. We used all available technology – virtual meetings, social media channels and messaging apps – to keep talking to our people. I approached the entire organization every week and as often as necessary. More than providing funds to keep the business going, it was a shining moment for us to show our people how much we care about them and that we got their backs. We told our leaders that this pandemic is a rare opportunity for us to earn the highest level of trust and respect from our people. Let’s not waste it. ”
Constant communication led to programs that helped Foodsphere thrive. Crisis management plans were updated, health protocols were established early and strictly adhered to, and management provided support to their teams such as temporary residences, free meals and vitamins, shuttle service, bicycle loans and even unemployment benefits to increase additional expenses.
“All in all, the cost was staggering. But we have a mission to serve, to continue to make our products available, and we can only do so with driven and committed people who know they have been taken care of. ”
Aside from the thousands of employees who were happily named “Ka-Republikas” by Foodsphere co-founder and longtime chairman, the late Jose J. Ong, Jerome credits the amazing business performance to the Leadership team. “Our family is truly blessed with a very talented and hard-working management team. To begin with, they are very good, a combination of homemade talents and professional leaders who really work as a team. In the midst of the pandemic, they took their game a notch further and really delivered. We are extremely grateful. ”
The company’s business partners have proven to be strong allies with CDO Foodsphere over the past year. They enabled the food processing giant to keep its commitment to ensuring ample food supply. The partners also allowed help to be extended to those who needed it.
One of these is the Million Meats program, where one million cans of meat loaf was produced by the company, which combined donations from their trading partners and suppliers both here and abroad. It has benefited thousands of families over the past month and helped ensure that there was food on the family table during meals.
The CanDO project is a feeding program carried out with several food communities on social media that cooked and delivered to front lines, organizations and families in need in different places the food donations that CDO Foodsphere gave them. It has served more than 800,000 meals since the pandemic began.
To date, the company continues to expand assistance and support to communities through the Odyssey Foundation, Inc., which acts as its humanitarian arm. OFI has launched projects in the field of solid waste management, the community’s vegetable gardener and will soon start its annual nutrition programs again.
CDO Foodsphere receives the ASEAN Category Award for the Large Family Business Enterprise at the 2020 ASEAN Business Awards, which took place in Vietnam last November. This recognition confirms the company’s sustainability and strength in the coming years.
They also became the first recipient of the Security Seal Certificate awarded by the Department of Labor & Employment (DOLE), and the seal was personally installed by Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III.
Foodsphere is a strong advocate for vaccination. In collaboration with GoNegosyo, the company was part of the first multilateral agreement for the private sector to provide COVID-19 vaccines to its employees. “Apart from continuously practicing the minimum health standards, vaccination is the key to protecting our people and their families and enabling them to quickly enjoy their normal lives,” Ong said.
It is a promising future for CDO Foodsphere, and brighter days are expected ahead. As they celebrate their 46th anniversary this month, led by Jerome D. Ong, along with siblings Charmaine & Jason and mentored by founder Corazon D. Ong, the company reaffirms its commitment to delivering food that brings people home.
Happy 46th birthday, Foodsphere!
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