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As a global life science business, we are committed to supplying our customers in all markets served and, as such, are actively monitoring our supply chain for potential impacts due to escalation in the outbreak of the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Our teams are experienced with adapting to changing conditions and have developed business continuity plans to serve the needs of customers. For an update on our approach and actions, please see the following statements and FAQs.
Current Operations As the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) affects nearly all regions around the world, we continue to monitor the situation closely, establishing protocols and guidelines to minimize the impact whenever possible to our employees, our sites and our supply. We are following guidance outlined by the WHO, CDC and governments of impacted countries, many of which have now made additional hygiene and safety recommendations and introduced required social distancing measures.
Our Global manufacturing sites are all operating and each of our sites are actively managing business continuity plans with pandemic situational scenarios. Our pandemic situational scenarios include updated regimented cleaning schedules that strive to avoid disruptions and serve as a precautionary measure for ensuring our operations remain intact for the long term.
In addition, we have implemented a regular cadence of communication, tested our notification systems and have updated trainings and protocols to further educate our employees on important topics such as hygiene and self-reporting any symptoms. Employees that can work from home are doing so and for those employees who continue to develop, manufacture, package and ship products, or provide services at our sites, we are implementing workplace distancing precautions and staggered shifts.
We are requesting that most external visits and audits of customers and suppliers at our sites be postponed or redirected towards virtual meeting options.
Our Approach for Managing Supply Chain Risk Our global COVID-19 Task Force continues to actively evaluate the overall supply chain of both our products and raw material suppliers to mitigate any potential supply disruption. This cross-functional team structure has helped us to be agile and informed, as the situation continues to evolve.
We are increasing stock of products sourced and activating our validated secondary suppliers in accordance with our quality procedures where necessary. We have not experienced any significant disruption to the availability of our products to date. We continue to monitor our raw materials supply and any identified impact on orders will be communicated directly to customers through our Commercial Services team.
Regional Updates We have dedicated import and export teams to support activities associated with exportation and importation activities to minimize disruptions.
Freight trade lanes continue to recover in China and other APAC countries, and we are continuing to replenish safety stock in these regions.
As countries are closing borders in Europe to reduce the spread of the virus, we are working with all local governments to continue manufacturing, packaging and shipping our products during the implemented restrictions. Transportation of our goods are still allowed throughout Europe at this time.
The US put restrictions on all passenger flights from Europe, while this does not prevent cargo shipments, it does limit the available space since many passenger flights also carried cargo. We are monitoring backlog closely and are doing all that we can to prevent disruption by looking into available trade lanes.
Globally, we are implementing redundant inventory in our distribution centers and reviewing warehouse strategies to accommodate for potential locally enforced measures.
Travel & Meetings For our employee’s safety and well being, and in alignment with current authoritative guidance, we are restricting travel especially in the most affected countries and asking our employees to postpone visits to your sites. Employees are prepared and encouraged to be working from home when possible and we are leveraging virtual meeting technology to continue collaborating with the scientific community.
Our Contributions We manufacture more than 300,000 products focused on scientific discovery, biomanufacturing and testing services globally. We are deploying all necessary resources and working alongside distribution partners and carriers to meet the urgent needs of our customers by supplying products supporting the detection of COVID-19, as well as products needed for the accelerated development of vaccines and therapeutics. To date, our parent company, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, has donated cash and goods to support medical aid and frontline healthcare workers, as well as some products to local institutions and in-vitro diagnostic manufacturers in China.
We thank you for your contributions to the collective work of slowing and containing the spread of the virus and admire your dedication to our shared objectives to continue advancing science during this time. We will continue to update you as this situation evolves.