The decisions we are making at Simplot Australia are based on two key priorities, these are keeping our people safe and healthy and ensuring the continuity of our operations so that we can fulfil the requirements of our customers.
Our customers and industry partners are a key part of our critical business activities and we are committed to all of you who share in our purpose as we contribute to feeding our world. In these unprecedented times, that purpose is more important than ever, and we are here to support the critical work of our customers and the agriculture and food industry. As the COVID-19 issue continues to impact our communities, we want to let you know what we’re doing to ensure our continued service, health and safety of our people.
To ensure ongoing protection of our customers and employees we have implemented travel and visitation restrictions for our employees, visitors and industry partners. This includes:
- Cancelling international business and domestic travel
- Only allowing business critical visitors to access our sites
We are closely monitoring the World Health Organization (WHO), the Australian Government Department of Health, and local health agencies for the latest developments related to COVID-19 and following the guidance of government and public health officials. We are reinforcing these agencies’ recommendations by introducing proactive social distancing and other precautionary efforts such as:
- Stepping up hygiene measures, including the frequency of cleaning door rails, hand rails, canteens and common areas cleaning frequency in the day across all sites.
- Cancelled large internal conferences and meetings
- Limited the number of people who can be in a meeting room, at any given time, to no more than 10 people (or less for smaller rooms)
- Split critical business teams so that half are working from home
- Segregated shifts and shift patterns to reduce contact times between shifts
- Increased our use of virtual meetings and digital technologies
To handle the ongoing impact of this situation and continue to meet your needs, we have deployed a cross-functional team responsible for ensuring our business continuity protocols address agency guidance and best practices related to COVID-19. This includes:
- Building and revising action plans and communications
- Developing guidelines to meet frequently changing needs, planning and testing for future scenarios
- Testing established business continuity plans that ensure supply of products and that our fundamental food saftey and quality standards are maintained
We are closely monitoring and adopting creative and innovative solutions to minimise the impact on our supply chain including securing forward orders and contingent plans for imported raw materials. Like so many other food and grocery suppliers, we are seeing increased demand from our customers as a result of panic buying by the community, and naturally in response our customers have increased orders which have well exceeded our original forecasts for the current period. In some categories this is aided by our Australian based manufacturing facilities which allow us to better respond to such demands.
To address this immediate issue we are:
- Working closely with customers to help address the current consumer demand, and have in many cases been able to bring orders forward to fulfil requirements.
- Reducing promotional activity over the near term with the aim of ultimately trying to bring annual supply and demand forecasts back into alignment.
We are looking after the wellbeing of our people, engaging with our suppliers and doing everything we can to maintain the ongoing operations of our plants so that we can ensure that the nourishing food that we provide is available to Australians and New Zealanders during this time.