13 Mar 2020
Wightman & Parrish
Yesterday afternoon, the PM Boris Johnson announced that the United Kingdom would be moving from the contain phase, to the delay phase. This was in response to a rising number of confirmed cases of coronavirus and an increasing death toll. Wightman & Parrish have been monitoring the situation for some time now and we continue to do so on a daily basis to ensure business continuity and operations. We have a robust Business Continuity Plan and our Emergency Management Team have been meeting since early February, to try and mitigate the risks we face.
As a responsible business and a supplier to the Healthcare and Education sectors, Wightman & Parrish have the following measures in place to sustain business continuity:
We are experiencing high volumes of calls and orders which we are doing our best to meet. Our stocks were at a high level due to Brexit, but even so we are having some shortages. Supplies of hand towels, gloves, toilet tissue, sacks, laundry powders, cleaning chemicals and equipment remain in good shape.
We are out of stock of masks and most hand sanitisers, but endeavouring to source some products from wherever we can. It is extremely unlikely we will have any masks in the near future, but we have been promised some alcohol sanitiser.
We would encourage our customers not to “panic buy” items like toilet rolls, hand towels and other products as we are currently getting all we can order from our suppliers and we are increasing our stock holdings of these lines. We reserve the right to reallocate orders to priority customers in the healthcare setting.
We have confirmed to all our employees we will pay them for a period of self-isolation regardless of their sick pay status and we will pay them for at least 4 weeks should they be unlucky enough to catch the virus and be “off sick”. We have gathered details of all planned holidays and have already arranged for people to work from home on their return to the UK, as a precaution.
We have provided our drivers with personal sanitiser and they do not come into our buildings. We have access to Agency drivers and retired zero hour drivers. We can also use other employees to deliver if required.
Customer delivery – leave outside the door
Where agreed with our customers, we will leave goods just outside the premises. We have photo capture for all deliveries done in this way.
Stock/Picking of Orders
We have two shifts and have separated the shifts to minimise the spread of the Virus. We have drivers that can help pick orders and office personnel who can also be reassigned. Our field sales team can be reassigned if required.
Our teams are already set up to work from home, but we need to be able to set up their phones at home so that calls can be re-routed if required. We plan to finish this next week.
We have equipped our engineers with sanitiser and PPE to allow them to repair healthcare equipment and chemical dosing equipment if required. We have an extra person who used to be in the team who we can use if required.
Being a supplier of cleaning products, we have increased our own cleaning regime with a deep clean every week as a preventative measure. We also have installed Airsteril units in restrooms and washrooms.
We have increased our handwashing amongst our employees and encourage them to wash them as well as use sanitisers provided.
We have our own fuel supply and our own back electricity supply we can call on if we need.
We are fortunate that we have two different sets of offices in two different buildings, so this helps minimise any spread.
We are very fortunate to be in a sound financial position, so can ride out a severe downturn in the economy and our marketplace.
Our IT systems are mainly cloud based and can be accessed and maintained from any location with a decent broadband connection and via 3G/4G if required.
We have increased stock holding on our normal product range in a similar way we did for the two Brexit periods.
All non-essential meetings and exhibitions have been cancelled. We are using conference calling and video to replace meetings where possible.
Customers and Suppliers Infection Risk
We have asked all our suppliers to advise us if they become aware of any of their employees being tested positive for Covid-19, so that we can take appropriate action.