3/30/20 COVID-19 FAQs
Current answers to your questions as of 3/30/20
With the global outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19), is HiTouch Business Services experiencing any disruption to the products and services they offer me or my organization?
Yes, HiTouch Business Services is experiencing unprecedented demand in certain categories, such as hand sanitizer, N95 masks, gloves, disinfectants, toilet paper, paper towels, and facial tissue. For these impacted categories, we are working diligently with our suppliers to return to a stable inventory position as soon as possible and will use this communication vehicle to update status. Most other categories are in stock and available to purchase.
What is HiTouch Business Services doing to manage the impact on customer orders?
Our merchandising, sourcing, supply chain and support teams across the company are taking proactive measures to maintain the highest levels of support for our customers, which includes:
• Leveraging our scale and relationships with key suppliers to maintain the best stocking positions for products based on availability
• increasing our safety stock levels on imported business essential products and preparedness items where supply remains unconstrained
•Making sure we have alternatives for products that could be impacted across the market
•Strategically shifting our sourcing of our new Product Brands to ensure the best possiblesupply
•Monitoring our suppliers daily to ensure we can proactively address/communicate disruption if/when appropriate
How is HiTouch Business Services allocating supply of heavily constrained ’essential needs’ products like hand sanitizer, N95 masks, gloves and disinfectants?
Our primary objective is to serve our customers who are on the front lines combatting the spread of COVID-19 or who are the most at risk of being severely impacted by the virus. These groups would include customers like hospitals, first responders, and long-term care facilities (“Health Care”). Using this as our guiding principle, we are taking the following actions:
•Our sites will be continuously refreshed to reflect product status. Skus that we believe we could fulfill within a reasonable time frame will show as “Backordered” with our best estimate of the date when we will be able to deliver; skus that we believe we cannot fulfill within a reasonable timeframe will show as only ‘out of stock.’ In some specific cases where demand has been extraordinary, we have removed these skus from our sites temporarily. Please note that this does not imply that HiTouch Business Services will no longer carry these skus going forward.
•For “essential needs” products: All customers will see the following message for high demand products, “Inventory for select items is reserved for first responders and healthcare providers.” Starting 3/25, Health Care customers will be able to place new back orders for ‘essential needs products.’All other customers will not be able to place back orders. See below for more detail.
•For Health Care customers:We will fulfill current back orders from Health Care customers as soon as inventory is received of a frontline Health Care/Official First Responder customer received a cancellation notice on a back order in error, we will follow a pre-defined internal process to assess adding the customer to the priority “Health Care” list and update our systems accordingly
All requests will be reviewed as they come in and could possibly be denied of an account prioritization request is accepted, the Health Care customer will now be able to place a back order on ‘essential needs’ item so However, their prior back order will remain canceled and so the customer MUST submit a new order
•Health Care customers will be able to place new back orders starting Wednesday, March 25th.
•For all other customers:oBack orders for all other customers have been canceled in order to prioritize vital supplies to Health Care and first responder organization soWe could not fulfill these orders in a reasonable time frame while also prioritizing these frontline customers
• Temporarily, customers that don’t meet the prioritization criteria should not be able to place an order.
•If an error occurs and a customer is able to place an order, the order will be cancelled by the system before it is fulfilled
How will customers know if they will receive a back order they placed?
Customers will receive either an email with an order status update or a cancellation notice due to our inability to provide the products ordered in a reasonable time.
How will customers know when constrained products are again available to order?
•Customers can verify their ability to back order high demand items by asking their account manager or following the below steps:
•Step 1: Log in to HiTouchBusinessServices.com account
•Step 2: Search for a high demand product (Ex. hand sanitizer, gloves, and or disinfectants)
•Step 3: Go to the “Healthcare Reserved” filter on the left side of the screen and select “Yes” to narrow product listing to those still available for back order
•Step 4: The product shown on the page is now only what is reserved for first responders and frontline healthcare providers
•Step 5: A yellow alert will also show on the constrained product detail page with “Inventory for select items is reserved for first responders and frontline healthcare providers”
•When a first responder or frontline healthcare account selects “Add to Cart” they will be able to place a backorder for the product; back order delivery dates will be shown in cart when placing an order
•If a customer is not an approved first responder or frontline healthcare account, they will see the “Add to Cart” button but when they try to order, they will receive a pop-up message indicating the item is out of stock **Answer updated on 3/30/20
Is there a way to place a Special Order on HiTouch Business Services?
Yes, if you are looking for hard to find items, you can place a request for a quote using the Special Order feature. Items that are displayed as out of stock or on back order, are NOT available for Special Order. Can my organization return large order quantities if we over purchased items? We will try to accommodate returns but ask that you are mindful of the quantities you are ordering.
What restrictions and guidance are currently in place related to HiTouch Business Services employees, contractors, or third parties that may be traveling to or from affected regions, and then returning to or visiting headquarters or operational locations?
To ensure we service our customers, we will utilize audio/video and or in person meetings when appropriate to answer questions and continue to support customer needs. In addition, we have instituted a temporary travel ban for all non-essential domestic and international business travel. We have also communicated CDC and WHO best practice guidelines for the prevention of spreading disease, including: •Avoid close contact with people who aresick
•Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashedhands•Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20seconds
•If soap and water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based handsanitizerAs this is a rapidly evolving situation, we are continuing to monitor closely and will update our policies as necessary to ensure adequate protective and preventative measures remain in place.
What preventative measures is HiTouch Business Services taking to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 transmission and protect the health and wellness of customers?
We continue to take the guidance from the CDC and WHO and are doing regular education with our associates on best practices on healthy workplace habits. We are also encouraging associates with remote capabilities to work from home and have restricted non-essential business travel. Quarantine protocols have also been set in place and are in line with CDC and Canada Health identified warning locations and situations. Furthermore, associates have been directed to not come to work if they are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19.
What preventative measures are delivery drivers taking?
Our drivers are taking extra precautionary measures as they are in contact with many customers, including health provider locations. The drivers are no longer capturing signatures from customers with our devices and have been provided with additional sanitizing products at their locations as available and as deemed necessary by the location. We are also complying with any and all customer requests to change normal delivery routines, such as leaving packages outside hospitals instead of desktop deliveries. As with all of our employees in the abundance of caution, we are asking our drivers not to come to work if they are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19.
What preventive measures is HiTouch Business Services Supply Chain taking?
Our Supply Chain is taking extra precautionary measures and increasing the amount of cleaning in each Fulfillment Center. Main entrances, breakrooms and bathrooms are being cleaned multiple times throughout the day. All breakrooms have been stocked with cleaning supplies and tools for use by associates during their workday to operate safely. All commonly used warehouse tools/equipment are cleaned and disinfected at least daily as well. **Answer updated on 3/30/20
Will HiTouch Business Services associates complete company documents on COVID-19 policies and procedures that customers require of all vendors?
Due to the volume of requests for information on HiTouch Business Services COVID-19 policies and procedures, we have created this FAQ document and ask that customers utilize the information provided within it in lieu of requiring HiTouch Business Services associates to complete separate forms. Should you require information not reflected in the FAQ document, please work directly with your HiTouch Business Services representative for additional needs.
Where are the products HiTouch Business Services sells being sourced from?
As one of the largest distributors in the United States, HiTouch Business Services has strategic suppliers and manufacturers that may have items or components that are manufactured in the US and or globally to include China.
Is it safe to receive a package from any area where COVID-19 has been reported?
Per the World Health Organization (WHO): “Yes. The likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low and the risk of catching the virus that causes COVID-19 from a package that has been moved, travelled, and exposed to different conditions and temperature is also low.”**Answer updated on 3/30/20
Does HiTouch Business Services’ Disaster Recovery / Business Continuity Plan include Pandemic Planning and Preparedness?
At HiTouch Business Services, the safety of our associates, customers, and businesses is a top priority. Therefore, HiTouch Business Services has developed a Pandemic Plan in accordance with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) guidance. In the event of a Pandemic, our phased approach corresponds with the WHO’s guidelines, and will allow HiTouch Business Services to respond proactively when possible and reactively when necessary as the situation warrants. In general, HiTouch Business Services’ focus of pandemic preparedness is to:
•Limit the impact of an outbreak on our associates and their families
•Limit the impact of an outbreak on our delivery business by maintaining essential operations and services to whatever extent possible.
In the event of a Pandemic outbreak, HiTouch Business Services’ Business Continuity Plan for key functional areas (Supply Chain, Customer Service, etc) serves as our procedural documents with regards to technology and systems. Our company’s Crisis Communication Plan serves as the procedural document for communication strategies during a pandemic. Warehouses comply with Emergency Response Plans that are specific to each location.
In order to limit the negative impact of a pandemic on our business, HiTouch Business Services’ Crisis Management Team (a cross-functional group with key team leads across the family of companies in HiTouch Business Services, led by the Business Continuity Manager) is responsible for making rapid decisions within the framework of our HiTouch Business Services Business Continuity Plans, and HiTouch Business Services Crisis Communication Plan. In the case of a pandemic outbreak, HiTouch Business Services’ Leadership Team considers and acts on HiTouch Business Services issues related to:
•Communications (i.e. to associates, customers, vendors, and suppliers)
•Technology Considerations•Essential Function and Essential Associate assignments
•Policy and Procedure execution
This team draws upon the HiTouch Business Services Business Continuity Plan and the HiTouch Business Services Crisis Communication Plan for each operating company and/or site, including an analysis of the associate, business, and social consequences resulting from a pandemic. Contacts with local authorities on pandemic issues are coordinated through the HiTouch Business Services Physical Security (law enforcement), HR (health) or business continuity team (emergency management agencies). The team's responsibilities, at a minimum, include the following:
•Monitor an evolving pandemic, as it is a dynamic situation
•Keep up to date with recommendations from local / national health experts, which are likely to change in different phases of the pandemic.
•Ensure clear communication between associates, health practitioners, our EAP, and local authorities involved with disease control.
•Reduce the chances that employees become infected, both at home and at work, by considering suitable protective measures
HiTouch Business Services is committed to staying current with the latest Pandemic data issued by the WHO and by national public health (US’ CDC, Canters for Disease Control and Prevention, and Canada’s PHAC, Public Health Agency of Canada), and our plans will be adjusted and intensified should the WHO’s Pandemic Alert be elevated or changed.