Lenovo Engineers Navigate COVID-19 Lockdown to Provide Essential IT Support

Amanda Wang, Worldwide Communications Manager

The staggering scale of the COVID-19 crisis requires coordination across industries and demands that many of us go above and beyond to support frontline workers and our communities. At Lenovo, with people and resources in the heart of Wuhan, we are uniquely able to offer technology and IT expertise to support the fight against the virus. Facing travel restrictions, safety protocols, and unprecedented challenges for businesses and healthcare facilities, our teams continue to find innovative ways to respond. This is certainly true for our engineers in China, who at the height of the pandemic needed to be on-site to provide behind-the-scenes support to keep essential systems running.

Critical IT Support on Day One at the Huoshenshan Emergency Hospital

On February 3, the first day that Huoshenshan Hospital in Wuhan began to treat patients, Yaowen Tang, Lenovo’s Service Engineer, arrived ahead of schedule. Yaowen signed up to volunteer for IT operation and maintenance and committed to staying  in the emergency hospital’s isolation area until the COVID-19 crisis was under control.

Yaowen Tang working at his PCYaowen did not hesitate to answer the call, knowing that on-site support is essential, especially when technology is supporting urgent, life-saving care.

“I’m grateful for the chance to contribute, as a Lenovo employee and as someone who cares deeply for my community,” Yaowen said.

A medical staff member of Huoshenshan told Lenovo’s Wuhan service station that once the hospital began to receive patients, they faced challenges handling the huge volume of information they needed to input. When the IT infrastructure struggled to keep up and seemed likely to impact the efficiency of treatment, it required urgent attention.

With the hospital was racing against time, Lenovo quickly gave a helping hand. After remote communication debugging failed, Yaowen immediately set out for what some in Wuhan call the “War Zone” of the field hospital. Yaowen used his years of experience to determine that the on-site fault was a system problem. After confirming the data with the medical staff, he immediately installed the needed systems and software. Within two hours, the fault was eliminated.

When asked about Yaowen, a doctor in the Huoshenshan intensive care unit said, “He came to help when we need it most, when we were fighting the epidemic together in the front line.”

Answering a 2:00 a.m. Emergency Call

Again in Wuhan, on January 29, one bank’s settlement system broke down, threatening to ripple out and shut down related businesses at any moment.

Chifei waiting at a checkpoint when delivering parts.
Chifei waiting at a checkpoint when delivering parts.

Lenovo’s service team immediately held a conference call early the following morning to create an emergency plan to be implemented overnight. After two hours of discussion and resource coordination, they decided to allocate Wuhan warehouse resources and obtain the necessary authorization to complete the in-and-out operation of spare parts for maintenance.

However, Wuhan, as the worst-hit region of this epidemic, was under lockdown and unable to safely allow deliveries as usual—most commercial vehicle activities were heavily restricted Adding to the challenge, authorized vehicles had understandably been deployed to transport relief supplies, limiting Lenovo’s ability to respond through the usual processes.

The service team turned to Chifei Pan, a channel engineer based in Wuhan, for help. At 2:00 a.m., Chifei received the call.

Chifei already planned to go to Huoshenshan Hospital at 7:00 a.m. to participate in the delivery of IT equipment donated by Lenovo. But he and the team reassigned roles, reworked the plan, and he readily accepted the bank’s request. Chifei did not hesitate to pivot, citing his belief that “the customer’s business is our own business.” Because personal vehicles had more flexibility with checkpoints and highway travel, he personally drove to help the warehouse personnel transport spare parts. Just two hours after Chifei received the call, the equipment arrived at the bank. Shortly after that 4:00 a.m. delivery, the team successfully repaired the system fault.

Door-to-Door Service Across 296 Miles

At 11:00 a.m. on January 31, Fangchuan Han, Lenovo’s service engineer in Xuzhou, received an urgent repair request from the Taizhou City Taixing Health Commission, which partners with national services to coordinate essential COVID-19 healthcare operations.

Fangchuan repairing systems for the Taizhou Health Commission.
Fangchuan repairing systems for the Taizhou Health Commission.

Responding to the epidemic, officials had already suspended inter-city traffic at the provincial level. Checkpoints on most urban roads and some highways restricted travel to and from Wuhan, including temperature checks and other safety measures. Examinging his options, Fangchuan determined the only way resolve the issue required personally driving to the Taizhou—charting a safety-conscious course spanning 477 kilometers (296 miles).

Considering the special checkpoint situation on the road, Fangchuan place a sign on his windshield indicating he was sent by Lenovo to provide service for the Taizhou Health Commission. He also contacted the highway staff in advance and planned a detailed route to reduce the time spent on the road as much as possible.

At 8:15 p.m., Fangchuan finally arrived at the computer room of Taizhou Health Commission. After repairing the device, he checked other systems and discovered that the server also needed maintenance. After confirming the work with Taixing Health Commission, Fangchuan requested special delivery of additional spare parts. Finally, he completed all equipment repairs at nearly 4:00 a.m. on February 1.

When difficult times come, we need the dedication and persistence of every person. Whether at the public security checkpoint in Hohhot City, at the anti-epidemic headquarters in Gaotang County, Liaocheng, or at the hospitals in Xiamen and Liuzhou, Lenovo’s engineers are doing their part to provide solutions, one by one at the frontline.


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