How to Safeguard Your Supply Chain Partners from COVID-19 Risks

How to Safeguard Your Supply Chain Partners from COVID-19 Risks

By Tricia O'Connor

Recent headlines about supply chain difficulties involving COVID-19 vaccines are not unique. Supply chains across a variety of industries have been interrupted since the pandemic began and some are still struggling to regain their footing. Toilet paper, anyone?

As organizations attempt to reopen their workspaces, or stay open amidst ever-changing regulations, they can best address emerging risks internally and across their supply chains by implementing a contingency and mitigation action plan that uses powerful, easy-to-use digital information tools for employees and leadership.

Here are four risk mitigation solutions every supply chain entity should have to stay safe and stay open while the pandemic continues. 

Supply Chain Solutions

The beginning of the year began with increasing international complexities and shipping capacity concerns for many enterprise-caliber organizations. Then COVID-19 hit at the end of Q1 and the ensuing global health pandemic quickly overshadowed those initial concerns. Since then, manufacturing, distribution, and transportation companies have focused on maintaining business operations while processing a new challenge of ensuring the health and safety of frontline employees. 

To reduce the possibility of costly disruptions and work stoppages across their supply chain, key personnel and health officials need to have full insight into the wellbeing of those working and visiting their facility. This requires enhanced employee health and safety training focused on the virus and its effects and provides leadership with integrated safety solutions that can be swiftly carried out when necessary. Enterprise-ready, return-to-work platforms should have a central dashboard of workflow procedures to ensure management makes timely decisions and provides employees with the confidence to return safely to work.

Organizations can leverage the use of technology, smart solutions, and health and safety best practices such as:

CDC Questionnaires and Mobile Temperature Checks

Although most employees are increasingly aware of the common symptoms associated with COVID-19, it is important employees report potential health concerns to key HR and health personnel. By answering a daily questionnaire that follows CDC guidance, employees can ensure they are meeting the most up-to-date health standards before even entering a facility.

Using a mobile app, employees can fill out a CDC questionnaire about their symptoms and self-report their temperature. If the questionnaire spots an issue, the employee will be instructed to stay home and set up a medical appointment, while an HR administrator is immediately notified.

On-site Thermal Scanning and Automated PPE Checks

One of the most telling indicators of COVID-19 is fever. Adopting a no contact thermal temperature scanner keeps employees safe and facilities operational. Employees will be issued a QR code to activate a thermal temperature scan to gain access into the facility. These scanners can detect symptoms and ensure employees, vendors and other visitors are complying with mask requirements before being allowed to enter. This process reduces risks and costs associated with assigning an employee to manually perform temperature and personal protective equipment (PPE) checks.

Contact Tracing and Distance Monitoring Devices

While managers may rely on security cameras and spot checks to ensure employees are wearing masks and following social distancing guidelines, distance monitoring and contact tracing enables leadership to detect potential and existing risks more effectively and quickly reduces the likelihood of exposing other employees. Distance monitoring not only informs management who may be at risk based on location but identifies the exact location and duration of any exposures. This location alignment assists leadership in contacting those at risk and carrying out proper sanitation measures.

Wearable devices continually track employees’ movements, recording the distance and duration of interactions and alert individuals in real-time when they are at increased risk. If an employee does test positive, having a contact tracing solution in place takes the guesswork out of which areas were contaminated and who the employees may have interacted with. This ensures exposed personnel are contacted in a timely manner and sanitation protocols are properly performed.

On-demand Dashboard Analytics

While having tech solutions in place to ensure the health and wellbeing of the workforce is key, being able to respond to risks quickly and effectively will ultimately be hindered if the information gathered is siloed amongst teams. Piecemeal solutions and paper tracking systems can result in miscommunications and bulky administrative processes that can impact an organization and its partners’ bottom lines.

Using a dashboard can help leaders seamlessly track pandemic-related activity across the facility, quickly review temperature checks and CDC questionnaire results, all while keeping data private and secure. The system can analyze the data and issue notifications (text and email) based on information gathered, which is crucial for identifying outbreaks and notifying health officials of a potential hotspot. Additionally, organizations can ensure social distancing measures and local occupancy regulations are being followed. With this insight, organizations can address staffing levels and improve their efforts to promote workplace safety by installing physical barriers, creating new pathways, scheduling staggered shifts and breaks and extending work hours (if needed).

Stay Safe. Stay Open.

Protecting the supply chain and the rest of the workforce needs to begin before an infected employee enters a facility. By creating a comprehensive health and safety strategy, organizations can efficiently mitigate the spread of communicable viruses and reduce costly supply chain disruptions.

EBI Workplace Health & Safety is a secure U.S. cloud-based, customizable platform providing modular options for retailers and all organizations to protect their people and their livelihoods. The platform serves as a central data repository and analytics engine for data collected through employee mobile health apps, thermal scanners, and contact tracing systems. These analytics give employers the insights they need to make critical business decisions to keep workplaces open and operational. 

A coordinated technological health and safety umbrella like EBI Workplace Health & Safety can help all of us work confidently and safely, without interruptions. 

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*EBI originally crafted this article for Supply & Demand Chain Executive. You can view the article here

COVID-19

About the Author

Tricia O'Connor

Tricia O'Connor

Writer. Digital marketer. Storyteller. An award-winning writer and editor, Tricia O'Connor is the Marketing Content Manager at EBI. Tricia worked as a broadcast and print journalist for nearly two decades writing and producing programming for high-profile networks like ESPN Radio, History Channel, and Hallmark Channel, as well as contributing editorial work to publications nationwide. Tricia joined the EBI marketing team in 2019 and is responsible for content strategy, development, and engagement. Tricia earned a master's degree in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and is a proud undergraduate alumna of Wheaton College in Massachusetts.

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