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COVID-19 IDS Update

by Mike Jones on 2020-03-26 14:00:00


March 26, 2020

IDS Coronavirus/Covid 19 update

To IDS customers and vendors;

Before our notes on our Covid-19 response updates, we do want to let you know, if you don’t already, that IDS and other distribution based businesses are firmly in the Essential Critical Infrastructure list from Homeland Security being used by States to determine what businesses remain open during Stay at Home orders.  We understand that our ability to ship product is a critical lifeline to most of our customers and we will continue to do all we can, even with some additional hardships in the Salt Lake City operation from earthquakes, winter storms, and unexpected holiday level sales activity, to continue to support your businesses.  Most of our clients have seen normal performance from us but for those few that have seen us working to catch up to their mutually unexpected order surges, we appreciate your patience through this time and concern for our staff that you have shared.

Regarding our staff, we are in an unusual situation where people filling relatively entry level jobs are often the ones in the front line of our nation’s response to this pandemic.  We appreciate that the nation has recognized the need to keep the supply chain assets of the nation going while we share our appreciation to the staff that forgoes the relatively safety of staying home and comes in every day past shuttered businesses and on relatively empty roads to pick and pack orders, unload trucks, and generally support these efforts.  We thank them and will strive to make our facilities as safe as possible for them.  Also, thanks to our customers that have reached out to show their appreciation for this staff.

Finally, thanks to all those working the front line in hospitals and labs. 

On to our updates:

  1. We are continuing our enhanced sanitation practices.
  2. We have reconfigured breakrooms at our most densely staffed site and created new break areas to enable proper social distancing.
  3. We have updated short term sanitation practices in the driver check in areas to minimize traffic, increase the sanitizing schedule cadence, and minimize/eliminate shared resources (i.e. pens). 
  4. We continue to limit our travel (none this week), require essential visitors (i.e. pest control) to validate their risk status, and are seeing nearly zero customer/pending customer visits.
  5. We continue to update our Disaster Avoidance/Disaster Recovery program to update it for pandemics.
    1. We are participating in weekly industry review calls of best practices with our industry trade association.
  6. All Accounting and HR staff are working from home as are most IT staff. Our Customer Service team is about 50% work from home.
    1. Where possible, staff living with individuals at high risk for complications (i.e. elderly, immune compromised) are being assigned to work from home.
  7. We have had no staff or contract staff report a positive test for Covid-19.
    1. We do not believe that otherwise healthy staff with cold symptoms have been or will be tested (at least for now). The local health organizations appear to be prioritizing limited testing capability to those with severe symptoms or high risk factors.  This leads us to believe that infection levels are still being under reported.
  8. We continue to work with and communicate with our contract labor staffing services regarding their staff health and availability of replacement staff for those that may be quarantined.  At this time we have not placed any new requests in Indy for contract labor staff but have been assured staffing is available if needed.  In SLC we have seen prompt filling of requests for additional staff albeit staffing has been a modest issue there as we ramp up some programs and the various additional issues they have dealt with have created additional strains on staff. 
  9. Our CEO is engaged with the State of Indiana through our Conexus industry group and its link/advisory role to the Governor’s Office regarding supply chain protection.  This office has actively reached out for industry input.  Mark is also directly engaged with some of Indiana’s Congressional and Senate delegation on issues surrounding the logistics industry’s response to the pandemic and needs from the Federal Government, as well as being actively involved in the IWLA’s efforts in DC.
  10. Indiana and Salt Lake City continue to be under Stay at Home/Essential travel only orders.
  11. We are updating our Paid Time Off policy to reflect the Federal bill we expect to be passed into law this week regarding additional paid leave for Covid-19 related issues.  This should compensate IDS for covering additional PTO time for staff that self-quarantines or are sent home by IDS.
  12. We have announced to staff that we will cover all Covid-19 related testing costs for staff in our health insurance program.  This may also be addressed in the expected new Federal regulations.

We will continue to update our clients and vendors of activities and we will alert you if we see conditions materially changing for the worse.  We are advising clients with significant kitting operations to accelerate work order releases to IDS so we can “front load” this activity now as we will try to prioritize outbound shipping over other activity IF our staffing is adversely impacted by this disease directly or indirectly. 

We are also advising that any inventory in transit or kept in alternate locations be forwarded to IDS so that product you expect us to ship is not at risk of being stranded by events at manufacturing or buffer warehouse locations.

While we are all being inconvenienced from this pandemic, we hope your families and businesses are not impacted directly in a significant manner.


Mark DeFabis                                                                                                    Michael Jones
CEO                                                                                                                        President/COO

SmartWay AIB International
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