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Coronavirus – Business Continuity Policy

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Networks Centre expresses their empathy and solidarity with all customers who are going through a difficult time for the second time with the November lockdown. As part of an industry identified by the UK Government as of a critical nature in support of our country’s IT and Telecommunications Industry, once again we re-iterate our commitment that we will remain open for business whilst at the same time taking every recommended precaution to protect staff.  We did this successfully during the first, longer lockdown and have come out in good shape as a business.

Summarising the key points to mitigate as far as we are able, the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic:

i) Working closely with our suppliers & customers to manage any changes in the supply chain. (There have been minimal impacts to date on customers relating to supply chain)

ii) Continuation of good workplace hygiene practices

iii) Cancelling all face-to-face meetings, travel (except deliveries) and using Microsoft Teams

iii) For essential workplace staff, maintaining social distancing rules at all times and wearing of masks.

v) Flexing our infrastructure assets across the group (Offices / Warehouses/ vehicles)

vi) Staff are physically separated into two fully integrated teams including toilet and other facilities. Routes are marked accordingly.

 

The second lock down is much shorter than the first and we are better prepared but remain vigilant.

 

Suppliers and Second Sourcing

We are in daily contact with our suppliers who are based in many locations across the Far East, Americas and Mainland Europe. At the time of writing we have had no reports of delays to shipments from any region. As a major distributor, we have alternate brands for the vast majority of products and hold in excess of £4m stock at our warehouses in the South East. At existing run rates, if manufacturing supplies were to completely cease, we estimate that we would be able to continue to supply for several months for standard products if customers are flexible and accept similar alternate products.

 

Infrastructure Flexing

Networks Centre group operates from two office locations and two warehouses. Whilst separate group businesses, we use common IT systems and procedures so would be able to transfer functions between office locations in the case where one office was severely affected. Similarly we could flex our warehousing to some extent in the same way. We have our own fleet of delivery vehicles to facilitate stock moves.

 

Labour Continuity

Networks Centre staff are all directly employed, not contract. We anticipate that delivery drivers (both deliveries to Networks Centre and from Networks Centre to Customers) will be at higher risk, coming into contact with multiple people in multiple locations. We employ our own drivers but also have couriers deliver. If a driver is off work we do have staff who can cover and we own our fleet of delivery vehicles but inevitably this could have a detrimental effect on service. Our couriers, DHL & TNT have their own policies on Covid-19 continuity which can be found here: https://www.dhl.co.uk/en/important_information/covid_19.html
https://www.tnt.com/express/en_gb/site/alerts.html

For our office & warehouse based staff, we are taking additional precautions to protect them which have been notified to staff including:

·         Attendance to all external meetings and events by staff is suspended.

·         Video conferencing or telecon will be used in all cases.

·         Non-essential visitors to our offices are prohibited and essential visitors, e.g. maintenance and IT staff will be temperature checked if required to enter the building.

·         Staff are required to check their temperature daily and sign a declaration. Any raised temperature, loss of taste or new dry cough will require testing and self-isolation for the prescribed period as per the Government advice (link below). Any staff member who lives with someone with Coronavirus symptoms will be required to self-isolate and work from home.

·         Providing more hand washing facilities, tissues, as well as sanitiser and face masks for all staff.

·         Closing communal areas like canteens.

·         Maintain the 2m distance from colleagues at all times. (Desks have been re-arranged and distance between staff increased with work groups dispersed and two fully integrated, segregated teams set up)

·         Asking staff to notify Purchasing if they hear about any issues affecting our supply chain.

·         Issuing a list of precautions as below:

 

General advice to our staff to protect them from infection

UK based employees are more likely to have influenza than coronavirus, but the precautions listed below are reasonable measures:

·         Frequently clean hands by using high percentage alcohol-based hand sanitiser or preferably soap and water. (Anti-bacterial is not anti-virus.)

·         When coughing and sneezing cover mouth and nose with your elbow or a tissue – throw tissue away immediately and wash hands

·         Maintain social distancing at all times (2m)

·         Use the government track & trace App

·         Use segregated routes marked out throughout the building

·         Avoid all contact with anyone who has fever and cough

·         Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean

·         If you have fever, cough, loss of taste  and difficulty breathing call NHS24 on 111 to arrange a test and self-isolate until the result if known

·         Avoid all non-essential travel and sticking to the meeting rules e.g. only one person and not to enter another household (unless a carer). Police have powers of imposing heavy fines or detention for those who flout the lockdown rules

·         The consumption of raw or undercooked animal products should be avoided. Raw meat, milk or animal organs should be handled with care, to avoid cross-contamination with uncooked foods, as per good food safety practices.

 

The link below provides the most recent government guidance:

https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

 

Stay at home advice can be found on the UK Government website:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance

 

This document will be updated in line with changes in the government rules or the business environment.