Safety & the Supply Chain: How to Respond to the Ever-Changing Impacts of COVID-19

Covid-19 Impact on Supply Chain
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As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, each day brings with it fresh challenges for businesses around the world. This makes having a good handle on new policies and potential risks within your supply chain a crucial consideration.
From the potential impracticalities surrounding social distancing for workers to rigorous cleaning schedules, we’ll be taking a closer look at the issues businesses are facing amidst the pandemic, and how they can respond to the ever-changing impacts COVID-19 throws their way. 

The social distancing saga

Social distancing measures have seemed to be an effective solution to help reduce close contact between individuals and the risk of contamination. However, as distances have varied and changed throughout the pandemic, it’s made implementing them even more challenging for many businesses. On top of this, the practicalities of upholding distances between workers who require close collaboration also adds to the logistical challenges, which begs the question of how to respond to this.
As an absolute minimum, you should adhere to the latest government guidelines surrounding social distancing. However, as these continue to change, it could be worthwhile establishing your own long-term guidelines for employees rather than adjusting them every time there’s a new announcement. From using warning tape on floors to define work areas to displaying visual signs throughout facilities, creating clear definitions for your company’s social distancing policies will aid an easy adoption by staff.
With your own steadfast measures in place, it’s far easier for you to construct operational processes that work around a definitive social distancing rule. This will not only minimize disruption to your operations and productivity, but it will also make it easier to uphold as there’s less confusion about what the latest guidelines are on any given day. 

The PPE (Personal protective equipment) debate

Personal protective equipment has been a hot topic in the news since lockdown, but it isn’t just frontline NHS staff that need to wear protective gear for their daily operations. Warehouse operatives and logistic workers should also be wearing PPE in order to protect themselves and the general public from possible contamination. 
Given the nature of the work in warehouses, it may be that protective gloves and face masks are already part of your PPE inventory, but if they aren’t, be sure to get some in stock. In light of the pandemic, these shouldn’t be limited to use in special circumstances, but provided to staff for everyday operations to keep them fully protected at all times. 
This is particularly important given that there’s still some uncertainty about how long COVID-19 will be around and whether we may experience a second wave. For businesses looking for the right response to potential changes, it’s advisable to plan for every contingency – putting measures in place to ensure staff have access to the appropriate PPE now and further down the line. 
From protective gloves for handling inventory to face masks and eyewear, implementing a strategy now to have ready supplies of essential PPE should mean your business is better prepared for both the best and worst case scenario. 

The deep clean ritual

Busy warehouses and shipping areas are challenging environments to keep clean at the best of times, but since lockdown, finding ways to uphold high-levels of cleanliness has been a must. For most businesses this has meant the introduction of deep clean schedules that will likely become a mainstay across all sectors amidst the current ‘new norm’ and beyond. 
While many of these measures were introduced as temporary solutions, if you want to roll with the COVID-19 punches, it may be wise to invest some time and money in a more long-term process for deep cleaning routines. With a cleaner workplace, you may find you’ll have healthier, happier workers as a result, as well as a spotless supply chain that’s proactively working to promote hygiene best practice. 
As part of your cleaning protocol, you should also promote good personal hygiene with staff. Communicate your expectations and the importance of cleanliness within your organization to all staff and provide them with easy access to hand sanitizers and hand washing facilities. Investing in best practices now will ensure that if any guidelines change, your business is already well-equipped to adapt. 
The key to responding to the impacts of COVID-19 within the supply chain is about looking ahead at the bigger picture. Despite many restrictions being lifted, the future is still full of uncertainty and it’s likely that many of the current measures will be here for some time in some shape or form. 
This means it could be more cost-effective to introduce more permanent processes and systems relating to workplace hygiene and social distancing. The results could be fewer disruptions, better productivity and safer, healthier staff. 

Floship Fulfillment Centers

Floship is an ecommerce order fulfillment provider for mid-market and larger ecommerce brands and sellers on market places with a minimum of 800 monthly orders. Our primary fulfillment centers are located in Hong Kong, a special administrative region within greater China where the covid-19 case counts have remained extremely low compared, ranking number 121 in the world with less than 200 active coronavirus cases as of September 27th.
Covid-19 case count Hong Kong
Our facilities employ the best possible security measures to avoid the spread of corona within our facilities. Warehouse personnel gets temperature and symptoms checked at the entrance and will be checked multiple times throughout the day. Work spaces have been redesigned to allow for social distancing and tools are frequently cleaned accordingly.
Floship has so far been able to offer reliable ecommerce fulfillment services, even at the peak of covid-19 cases in Hong Kong back in March 2020. While some couriers may struggle with the increase in demand (ecommerce is booming) and decrease in supply due to (air)port restrictions and delays due to social distancing in the work force or absence of employees due to sickness, Floship’s dedicated team is proactively supporting clients on a daily basis to quickly switch between couriers where needed, to continue to ensure quick delivery times.
Is your business experiencing challenges with logistics? Reach out to Floship today. One of our solution experts will be in touch within a business day. We are consultants first and foremost, really trying to understand your business’ needs and provide custom solutions per market.
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Author bio:

Alex Jones is a content creator for No1 Packaging – one of the UK’s lowest cost packaging providers.

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