Statement: SHL Medical’s precautionary measures related to COVID-19
Updated on: March 26, 2020
Since January 2020, SHL Medical has been closely monitoring the global effect of the Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19). We have taken proactive measures to protect the health and safety of our staff and ensure the continuity of drug delivery products for our customers and end-users.
To this end, SHL has officially deployed precautionary measures since January 2020. These include continuous monitoring and ongoing risk assessment related to the evolving COVID-19 situation. We have taken proactive measures that encompass both our business operations and staff health.
The key elements of SHL Medical’s response include:
Product manufacturing and quality
For product manufacturing and quality assurance/control, we continue to maintain business-as-usual production. Based on the result of an ongoing internal assessment, manufacturing is not impacted. SHL maintains the constant vetting of all manufacturing systems, such as maintaining Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP), including measures to ensure the safe and timely delivery of products and services. SHL is working closely with suppliers and partners to ensure synergy and transparency during this difficult time.
Supply chain management
As a business continuity measure, our Supply Chain has increased the frequency of sales and operation (S&OP) meetings with critical suppliers. Critical suppliers have been assessed and categorized to ensure that all have shortened S&OP intervals to enable early intervention and mitigate supply risk. This includes, for example, negotiating with our forwarders and agents for extra freight bookings. Our team is actively monitoring the SC assessment, including safety stock, supplier commitments, logistics and shipping schedules. Raw material orders are secured through the second quarter of 2020 and the supply assessment is on-going for the remainder of 2020.
Management and mitigation of staff risk
SHL Medical has implemented a ban on all travel. For business-critical and personal travel, all employees have been informed of and instructed to adhere to safety measures (e.g., preventive measures and quarantine) defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) and local government Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance. Since mid-March, we have implemented home office in the US, Sweden, and Switzerland, and split team, split sites, and remote working in Taiwan to manage risk and ensure business continuity. Manufacturing shifts have been re-arranged and staff may work in one site only. Between shifts, there is a complete separation to ensure that staff does not physically overlap.
SHL Medical’s manufacturing sites in Taiwan have implemented additional controls on building entry for all staff and visitors. Non-operational deliveries to sites are prohibited and entrance is tightly controlled. Operational deliveries are strictly monitored. To obtain entrance to any SHL facility, a temperature check is required. Persons with elevated temperature will not be allowed to enter SHL premises and must follow stipulated safety measures. All visitors need to wear face masks for the duration of the visit when visiting any of our sites.
SHL Pharma’s sites in the US have also implemented single entry building control for staff and visitors, with temperature checks. All visitors are expected to complete the questionnaire regarding travel and potential exposure to COVID-19 prior to entrance to the facility. The SHL Point of Contact ensures that visitors complete the questionnaire and follow the guidelines. Visitors who choose to opt out of the questionnaire are not be permitted to enter the facility. Staff members are encouraged to work from home where duties allow, and increased cleaning has been set in place. Our staff has been informed of CDC prevention measures, such as not coming to work if feeling unwell and avoiding crowded areas outside work.
Epidemic response team
We have established a cross-functional epidemic response team composed of the Human Resources, Quality Control, Manufacturing, Supply Chain, and Environment Health and Safety departments. This team meets daily. This team reports to senior leadership and makes recommendations on business continuity. This includes constantly updated preparation work and the establishment of external trigger points for response in all workstreams. SHL Medical’s senior leadership is thus well-placed for instant review and response to COVID-19 updates.
The well-being of our staff
To ensure our staff remains healthy SHL Medical proactively shares preventive measures and news updates, as well as clearly communicating company policies aimed at ensuring transmission prevention. We explicitly communicate preventive measures recommended by the WHO. These include posting effective handwashing methods in public areas and increased frequency of cleaning and disinfection in heavy-use areas at our facilities and social distancing. Additionally, we have provided individual care packages (including hand sanitizer) to promote prevention outside SHL facilities. Staff seating in the canteen and meeting rooms has been reorganized, with all seating a meter apart. Lunch shifts are split and chatting in enclosed spaces or during meals is discouraged.
SHL has created an internal COVID-19 Information Hub detailing disease transmission prevention measures for all staff. This includes additional government information sources from WHO and the local CDC. This Information Hub is updated regularly.
This is a non-exhaustive list of measures that SHL Medical is undertaking to ensure our commitment to our staff and customers. SHL Medical is taking a proactive and detailed approach in monitoring, managing, and preventing any disruption of the timely delivery of all products.
Please contact us for any further inquiries on the above.