Mar 10, 2020
The Shoprite Group is tracking the guidelines and advisory updates of the World Health Organisation, the National Institute of Communicable Diseases and any directives announced by the Department of Health to stay abreast of information and required actions to be taken in relation to the effect of Covid-19 on its customers, employees and operations.
It is also participating in discussions with the Consumer Goods Council of South Africa, which facilitates guidance to the retail and wholesale industry on shared challenges, to navigate and mitigate any issues that may arise.
Furthermore, a special executive level task committee has been convened to give effect to adherence on existing operational policies in its business affecting employee/customer well-being and the supply chain. Comprehensive response plans are in place across the business to cover contingencies including supply chain disruption, product sourcing, additional hygiene and cleansing procedures, and education on prevention.
“We consider planning as part of our core business and we are working with our suppliers across the business to manage our response to supply chain challenges. Our focus is to ensure that there is no long-term disruption of product availability for our customers, hygiene protocols and the well-being of our employees,” Pieter Engelbrecht CEO of the Group said.
On an operational level, the Group’s buying offices remain in daily contact with suppliers and factories locally and across the globe. Orders and shipments are visibly tracked and monitored to react to sudden changes in supply where necessary such as provision for the current increase in consumer demand for sanitisers, hygiene products and disinfectants.
Where needed, contingency plans have been put in place to mitigate stock order delays and cancellations out of China for certain winter products such as heaters and electrical blankets, including switching the source of supply to other countries like Bangladesh, Ukraine, India, Turkey and Poland.
“Hygiene and cleanliness is always at the top of the Group’s business agenda and we are currently refocusing attention on health and safety policies and procedures in stores and offices,” Engelbrecht said.
Store employees are continuously educated and informed about the importance of strict hygiene and hand-washing procedures, as well as the Clean-as-you-go principle (where surfaces are ongoingly cleaned and disinfected whilst working). All staff are being called on to be extra vigilant to prevent the spread of viruses and bacteria and they are provided with practical information on ways of prevention.
All Group personnel also have access to a 24 hour Helpline, named Health24/7, which is a benefit offered to employees and their immediate families offering guidance and information on health and wellbeing matters, including trauma.