COVID-19 Warehouse Safety Measures

Posted by AMS / Thursday, July 23, 2020

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As a B Corporation, AMS has been on the front line of warehouse safety. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, our company was enjoying an incredible safety record, and the good news is, we still are. We have taken frequent and thorough steps to protect our employees from a spread of the virus. As the country slowly begins to open up, we hope for and envision all of us getting back to normal business soon, or at least “the new normal” with an appreciation for safety and a commitment to staying vigilant in our fight against the spread of COVID-19.

One of our biggest challenges at AMS has been balancing the workload with the workforce. We weren’t quite sure how our client businesses would be impacted (and in turn, AMS’ business) by the COVID-19 crisis. Unlike some others in the Logistics space, AMS associates were not mandated to come to work, and many had a real need to isolate at home due to health risks, or to care for family members. We are thankful that our clients have been very understanding of our situation and we have worked hard to keep up with a solid spike in eCommerce activity. We are also grateful to our associates who have put themselves at risk during this pandemic and are showing our thanks with additional compensation. As it turns out, many of our associates who have self-isolated are beginning to return.

Obviously the COVID-19 crisis, and with the civil unrest that the country is experiencing due to the horrific death of George Floyd, AMS management has placed a great deal of focus on employee safety and engagement. Despite these unforeseen challenges, AMS is moving forward with a number of exciting initiatives, including put-to-light/pick-to-light automation, and some shipping initiatives that should really help increase efficiency.

We will walk through some of the steps AMS has taken to ensure the safety of our associates, but overall we can say that there have been no outbreaks within AMS. With 400+ employees within the organization, we have had very few individual cases, and we are confident that they did not arise from within the workplace.Thankfully all who have contracted COVID-19 have recovered and are doing well.

COVID 19 Safety Measures:

  • Work from home: In response to various city and state actions, management made the decision to have the majority of our Administrative employees work from home in order to effectuate social distancing.
  • AMS suspended all work-related travel
  • Employee communication plan in place.  As AMS was designated as an essential operation in California, Pennsylvania and Delaware, the vast majority of our workforce needed to report to our facilities each day.  We have incurred significant time, expense and efficiency losses in pursuit of our top priority:  the safety and welfare of our employees.
  • We distributed detailed information from the CDC about the virus and encouraged employees to stay at home if they felt at all unwell.
  • We asked employees to talk with their manager or HR if they felt they were at risk and needed to be at home. We made it clear that if they chose that option, they would have an equal opportunity towards continued employment with AMS.
  • We followed up our written communications with AMS Leadership team visits to each building to talk directly with employees.
  • We made a commitment to share with employees if an associate were to leave for self-isolation due to either having the COVID-19 virus or having been possibly infected with the virus.
  • We did two sets of surveys to be better aware of which of our employees had requests for part time, remain full time, or take a leave of absence.
  • We are doing routine phone calls to each employee that is out on self-isolation to check on them, and to be informed if their circumstances change.
  • We opened up more bathroom facilities and brought in portable “studio” grade bathroom trailers to allow less use of existing locations and making it easier to keep all locations sanitized.
  • We placed additional hand washing/sanitizing stations, pumps and wipes in our buildings for convenient and frequent hand hygiene.
  • We changed around pack stations, assembly lines and lunch tables to allow social/professional distancing, including plastic barriers as added protection against airborne spread.
  • We propped open most interior doors, except for secure areas, to minimize ‘hands on door handle’ contact.
  • We supplied PPE to all facilities including masks and gloves.  AMS has produced logo’d/reusable masks to all associates.  The wearing of masks is mandatory at AMS.
  • We brought in a 3rd Party cleaning agency to first do a deep cleaning in each building, and then provide 2-3 people onsite at each building each day to provide incremental sanitizing and cleaning services.  In addition, after an employee tested positive for COVID-19, we engaged the cleaning agency to deep clean the facility again.
  • We developed a checklist for all high-risk common touch areas that must get sanitized a minimum of 4x per day by our dedicated employees, reallocated revenue generating employees to cleaning duties.
  • We discontinued all non-essential meetings, gatherings, and educational classes to minimize distancing challenges. We also stopped any shared food, buffet, pizza lunches – opting instead to have bag lunches brought in when appropriate.
  • We take temperatures of employees when they arrive to work along with vendors who come into the building and monitor for symptoms.
  • We restricted visitors to our facilities, except for essential business operations and emergency situations.
  • We keep communication open with associates by doing sampling surveys on how they feel we are doing as a company to ensure safety to all.  Results were extremely positive.

As of Today:  July 14, 2020

  • Associates on leave are being called back as jobs are available.
  • We continue to work closely with our employees to ensure shipping products in a safe environment is our number 1 priority.
  • Order turn-around times and KPI’s are returning to normal with the vast majority of orders shipping same day.
  • Client Services is working remotely, and it has been a seamless transition.  Zoom meetings with CS Teams and Clients are happening on a regular basis.
  • During this pandemic we have moved into a new building closer to our campus on the West Coast and on the East Coast (PA) we have added 50k square feet.
  • We continue to move forward Innovation and Technology to improve AMS’ service capabilities for our valued clients.  AMS will be implementing a new “put to light/pick to light” system with auto-baggers in Q3!
  • We will be launching a Client Satisfaction Survey 3rd quarter and we look forward to the feedback and continuing to strengthen our partnerships.

As we all work to get through these challenging times, we want to express our sincere thanks and appreciation for our AMS Clients.  Our best wishes go out to all for good health and prosperity, and we look forward to our continued partnership for many years to come!