This communication is to update you on how VOW Wholesale plans to continue to operate in support of your business through the disruption caused by the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak, providing the best service possible against a backdrop of unprecedented challenges.
We are committed to doing all we can, but our number one concern must remain for the health and wellbeing of our staff, customers and suppliers. The following summarises the key actions we have implemented to minimise operational impact whilst maintaining that duty of care.
Arrow Distribution Centre
As the hub of our distribution network, the ADC is critically important, and we must keep it operating. We operate a multi-shift system and to minimise any risk of cross contamination between the shifts, all of the dayshift will now start and finish 30 minutes earlier so that they are off-site 30 minutes before the late shift starts. Engineering and management will align with these new times so that we maintain experienced cover should anyone fall ill.
Internal on-site meetings, and visits from non-business-critical external contractors, customers and suppliers have all been stopped.
We know that hand washing is one of the most effective methods of preventing the spread of the virus, so we have set up extra hand washing stations at the staff entrance and exit. Staff are being reminded of the importance of good hygiene, instructed to wash hands regularly and being required to use the stations as they enter and leave the building.
Social distancing is being encouraged as much as possible and delivery drivers are being instructed to remain in their cabs whilst on site to minimise the risk of bringing the virus in. All forms of physical greetings such as handshakes are being stopped.
Like everyone we are faced with challenges in certain product areas. Spikes in demand and delayed production will inevitably have a knock-on effect. Where possible we are increasing our purchases of affected products and we ask for your patience and understanding as we attempt to maintain continuity of supply.
As you would expect, we are in very regular contact with all of our key suppliers and we are working with them to minimise any disruption over the coming weeks and months. Where we are aware that there could be shortages we are identifying and sourcing alternative products if we are able to do so.
It is inevitable that supplier schedules will change as we go through the next few weeks or even months, but we are working hard to ensure all delivery slots into ADC are maximised wherever possible.
Our own delivery fleet remain fully focused on delivering to you as near to normal as possible and we continue to partner with UPS to underpin our overall service to you and your customers across the nation.
I would like to reassure you that there is no evidence that COVID-19 can be transmitted from post, parcels or packages however our drivers will no longer be asking you for a signature at this time to reduce person to person contact.
As a business, our board is meeting daily to discuss the constantly evolving situation, and are communicating all of the latest advice from the NHS, Government, Public Health England and the Health and Safety to our staff.
Like most businesses we have been offering flexibility in working from home, and from today we will be actively encouraging as many people as possible to do this. We have implemented travel and restrictions and all meetings are now held using Microsoft Teams, rather than face-to face. In line with our duty of care, we are ensuring anyone affected is isolating and seeking appropriate medical support.
In terms of supporting our customers, we introduced the self-serve customer portal about 12 months ago and this has really come into its own in the current circumstances. The portal is accessible 24/7 and can provide copy paperwork, order tracking, availability and delivery dates and so on. I am pleased to say that 85% of our post sales queries now come via the portal which means manageable processes for VOW and convenience, time-saving and transparency for you.
These are truly unique times and they present challenges that we have never faced before. We believe that we are as prepared as we can be and that we will be able to minimise the inevitable disruption. We will continue to inform you of any impact on our ability to service your business and to adjust our services appropriately as the situation evolves.
Finally I want to thank you for your support and understanding – without you and your teams we have no business and we will continue to do all we can to support our customers as effectively as we can over the coming weeks.
I hope that you and those close to you remain in good health.
VOW Wholesale Managing Director