Manufacturing & Distribution Checklist for COVID-19

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The constant changes happening right now across the U.S. due to the COVID-19 pandemic are forcing the manufacturing and distribution (M&D) industry to adapt quickly. For an industry that recently operated at full capacity and had difficulty finding workers, it’s been a challenging transition to halting production, closing plants and laying off employees.

As a member of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), BKD has been in continual contact with industry leaders throughout this crisis. From a recent NAM survey, more than 78 percent of manufacturers expect COVID-19 will have a financial impact on their business. Of those surveyed, 58 percent anticipate a change in their operations. 

We’ve provided a checklist of recommended tactics and best practices to help you navigate the coming months. 

Internal Communications 

Help your employees understand the likely effects COVID-19 will have on their jobs and share best practices to help limit risk.

  • Develop a clearly defined internal communication plan 
    • Dedicate space on your intranet for a FAQ section related to the virus
    • Provide regular communication and updates from company leadership
    • Review your work-from-home policy 
      • Understand how your technology and infrastructure may be affected
      • Be diligent about technology risk management/cybersecurity, as there have already been instances of fraudulent activity, phishing emails, etc.
    • Help employees recognize what social distancing means at work and home
    • Help employees understand your health insurance coverage
    • Include the appropriate unions/associations in your communication plan (if you operate with labor agreements)
  • Explain any revisions to company travel policies, such as: 
    • Policy for travel already booked
    • Policy for personal travel
    • Company policy for mandatory quarantine based on travel location
  • Communicate company plans for paid time off/salary continuation
  • Describe how your company healthcare plan may change to help cope with those affected by COVID-19
  • Explain job site/factory floor changes
    • Consider implementing job site health screenings, including voluntary temperature checks before employees begin work
    • Stagger shift start times
    • Avoid large staff meetings—move to small groups of fewer than 10 and practice social distancing
    • Modify your absentee and overtime policies to help cover the absences of those who may become ill

External Communications 

Develop a well-prepared communication plan for those outside organizations you normally interact with. 

  • Banks and other lending institutions 
    • Inform them of your action plan
    • Review the terms and conditions of your agreements
    • Ask about their plans for deferring debt requirements as it relates to required principal, interest payments and/or covenant borrowing-base requirements
  • Other insurance coverages 
    • Prepare for the possibility of an employee contracting COVID-19 while performing job duties
      • This could be a reportable incident for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and could incur workers' compensation
    • Evaluate your company’s health insurance coverage

Keeping Your Work Areas Clean

Clean and disinfect your work areas to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued these guidelines:

  • Encourage sick employees to stay home
    • Be flexible with your sick-leave policies
    • Don’t require a doctor’s note for employees to return to work, as medical professionals are currently busy with more vital matters
    • Maintain flexible policies that permit employees to stay home to care for a sick family member
  • Separate sick employees immediately and send them home
  • Practice respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene
    • Provide tissues and no-touch disposable receptacles
    • Encourage use of hand sanitizer that contains 65 to 90 percent alcohol
    • Encourage hand washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Perform routine environmental cleaning
    • Clean all frequently touched areas, such as workstations, countertops and doorknobs
    • Provide disposable cleaning wipes for individual work areas

As conditions shift, we’ll continue to share best practices to help you tackle the challenges. Visit BKD’s COVID-19 Resource Center for more information. We understand this list can’t cover all situations—if you have any questions on a specific issue, reach out to your BKD Trusted Advisor or use the Contact Us form below.

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