This link, from Johns Hopkins University, gives an update on the virus.
Here’s a look at what some companies are doing to reduce the spread of coronavirus and how the epidemic will impact business in Q1 and beyond.
On March 13, Amway asked as many employees as possible to start working from home. The company says the action will protect employees and their families as the spread of COVID-19 continues to be unpredictable. Amway released a statement on the decision:
"Amway is asking many employees to begin working from home tomorrow out of an abundance of caution to help protect our community and prevent the spread of COVID-19, which continues to be unpredictable. Manufacturing and distribution will still be operating.
In the full spirit of taking care of our employees, salaries and wages will continue to be paid whether employees are working on site or at home."
Employees with questions on how it impacts their team and role will receive communication from their functional leaders. Those with jobs that can only be done using equipment on the site will have different guidelines. Cafeterias are closed at Amway facilities.
No matter what happens “out there,” people still need to brush their teeth and feed their dog, right? Maybe. Colgate's stock declined by almost 4% on Monday, March 9 and the stock is down by about 12% since February 1, after the WHO declared a global health emergency. Still, analysts don’t expect consumer product sales to take a major hit during the crisis, and sanitary and health care products like toothpaste could even enjoy a surge in sales.
Representatives from Colgate-Palmolive, in their fourth quarter earnings call, noted “it seems certain that there will be a negative impact from the coronavirus on our business in China and the total company for at least the first quarter.”
As the largest company in the global industrial and institutional market, Ecolab is at the forefront of the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, the company has a microsite dedicated to coronavirus.
Due to its travel industry exposure, financial analysts downgraded the ELC stock. CFRA downgraded Estée Lauder from hold to sell and lowered its price target to $160 from $190.
"Estee Lauder has deep exposure to the travel retail channel (23% of fiscal 2019 net sales) and department stores (35% of sales), as well as a broad footprint (32% of sales in the Americas, 43% in Europe, Middle East and Africa, and 25% in Asia-Pacific), traits that we think leave Estée Lauder exposed in the event of such outbreaks for a global economic slowdown given its exposure to discretionary products," CFRA's Arun Sundaram wrote.
The company also lowered its guidance for the current quarter. In its fiscal Q2 report, CEO Fabrizo Freda noted: “In the wake of the recent coronavirus outbreak, we are first and foremost concerned about the health and safety of our employees, consumers and everyone affected in China and around the world. Our hearts and support go out to the many people working hard to mitigate the health risks of the coronavirus. The global situation will also affect our financial results in the near term, so we are updating our fiscal year outlook. With our results to date and our agility in allocating resources, we will strive to deliver full-year growth at least in line with our long-term goals, even in this challenging moment. We will be ready to return to our growth momentum as the global coronavirus outbreak is resolved.”
Johnson & Johnson
The company maintains that it has robust business continuity plans in place across its global supply chain network to prepare for unforeseen events like the coronavirus outbreak. These steps include maintaining critical inventory at major distribution centers away from high-risk areas and working with external suppliers to support it preparedness plans.
“We are closely monitoring product demand and supply levels across our global network to ensure adequate and effective distribution, and working diligently to meet patient, customer and consumer need,” the company said in a statement.
J&J is mobilizing resources of its Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies in response to the outbreak to develop a possible preventive vaccine candidate against SARS-CoV-2, leveraging Janssen’s AdVac and PER.C6 technology, that provide the ability to rapidly upscale production of the optimal vaccine candidate. These are the same technologies that were used in the development and manufacturing of Janssen’s investigational Ebola vaccine, which is currently deployed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda, and were also used to construct the company’s Zika, RSV and HIV vaccine candidates.
Effective March 16, the company told employees who have circumstances where they need to work from home should do so.
“Please talk to your immediate supervisor about what’s right for you and to make arrangements for business continuity,” the company said in a statement. “If you have a company-issued laptop, we encourage you to take it home with you daily in the instance you may need to work from home.”
To encourage front-line and distribution associates to take care of themselves first and foremost, L Brands is reviewing its policies for store and distribution center associates. Details of any changes to policies will be shared directly with those associates who are impacted.
“L Brands has always maintained an at-ready response plan we can activate to deal with health-related emergencies. In response to public health emergencies, we take guidance from the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local governments. Our response plan is closely aligned with the actions of these organizations,” the company noted.
“First and foremost, we continue to advise associates that the most effective way each of us can protect ourselves and others is to take the same common-sense precautions we normally would to prevent illness: wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water; cover your mouth when you cough; sanitize surfaces and stay home if you are sick.”
The French beauty and cosmetics group was among the first multinationals to suspend business travel, the ban is in effect until at least the end of March. L’Oréal has 86,000 employees around the world.
Announced yesterday its factories that normally manufacture perfume will shift to manufacturing hand sanitizer gel.
"LVMH will use the production lines of its perfume and cosmetic brands ... to produce large quantities of hydroalcoholic gels from Monday," the company said in a statement, according to Reuters.
The company said it would be delivering the products to French healthcare authorities for free. According to March 12 data from the World Health Organization, France so far has dealt with 2,269 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus that have led to 48 deaths.
Procter & Gamble
On March 12, CEO David Taylor asked office employees, including about 10,000 at company headquarters in Cincinnati, to try to work from home for the rest of March in a bid to keep employees safe from the coronavirus outbreak.
“Social distancing is a key practice to contain COVID-19. Therefore, we are asking all NA (North American) employees who are able to do so to collaborate with your managers on a plan to work from home through the end of March,” Taylor said in a letter to employees.
For P&G factory and distribution center workers, P&G said it is taking “preventive measures” to keep facilities operating safely “while effectively delivering the business need to serve our consumers and customers.”
The company operates 24 US factories and 85 others in 37 countries, including China where the outbreak started in December. P&G officials said Thursday the company hasn't had a confirmed case of illness or infection among its 97,000 employees worldwide. They did not say what steps they will take in the event an employee falls ill.
Taylor's letter said the company was actively discouraging visitors and cutting back employee travel to "business- or time-critical." The company is also asking managers to postpone or cancel large internal meetings or town halls and to use technology for more web-based or telephone conferenced group communications.
Finally, Taylor urged any sick workers to stay home as well as workers who’ve been in contact with someone who is sick.
P&G COO and CFO Jon Moeller said the company expects the virus to materially impact earnings for the January to March quarter in China and for the overall company.
"We continue to believe, based on what we know today, that our fiscal year top and bottom line guidance ranges—and I emphasize ranges—remain the right ones," Moeller said in a statement. " We will continue to monitor the situation and obviously update you if and when a different reality becomes apparent."
P&G said some China demand has shifted online in the face of shuttered stores, but supply of delivery operators is limited. Outside of China, the company is being hurt by a significant slowdown in traffic to department stores in Asian cities and towns. The company has 387 suppliers in China that ship to it globally more than 9,000 materials, impacting about 17,600 different finished products.
In February, the company barred about 8,000 employees from coming into work for more than a week amid concerns about the coronavirus outbreak. About 30% of Shiseido's Japanese workforce stayed out of the office from Wednesday through March 6. Meetings were handled via teleconference. The company previously encouraged employees to telecommute, but the updated policy essentially made it mandatory.
In other news, Shiseido said the coronavirus outbreak cut its sales in China more than 55% during the Lunar New Year holiday.
In a very comprehensive letter to employees on March 13, Unilever CEO Alan Jope wrote:
"I wanted to update you on a new set of actions we will be taking to protect ourselves against coronavirus (Covid-19).
The situation has now been confirmed as a pandemic by the World Health Organization. It is clear that the global threat from coronavirus is continuing to grow, and at a rapidly accelerating rate. There are now more than 120,000 recorded cases in over 100 countries, and sadly more than 4,700 people have died as a result. This week's message from the World Health Organization was unequivocal – that humanity's success in tackling coronavirus effectively is heavily dependent on the actions that organizations take over the next few days to help slow down its spread and avoid overloading health care systems.
As you know, since the initial outbreak in China, we have put in place measures to help minimize the risk from coronavirus to our employees and their families. Our approach has been one of abundant caution, and the speed of response and collective responsibility I have seen across Unilever has been truly heroic. Not only in China and Italy, where we have been most impacted, but in many other parts of the company too. Thank you for your professionalism and commitment.
However, it is very clear that we now need to go to the next level. As a result, today I am announcing the following measures for all our people, including contractors, globally. They are most simply broken down into 'musts' and 'must nots':
THE MUST NOTS:
You must not …
1. Travel by air either internationally or domestically. Any air travel which is currently booked, apart from return-bound flights, will be cancelled centrally by our travel booking partners.
2. Work from any Unilever site other than your principal location.
3. Enter a Unilever site if you are suffering from cold or flu-like symptoms.
4. Invite any visitors onto a Unilever site without the prior approval of the site leader.
5. Attend meetings, conferences or events of more than 20 people.
You must …
1. Self-isolate for 14 days if you are experiencing any cold or flu-like symptoms or have returned to your country from another location for either business or personal reasons.
2. Apply hand sanitizer when you enter a Unilever site.
3. Undergo thermal testing upon arrival at any Unilever site as legislation and equipment allows.
4. Use non-physical greetings (ie avoid shaking hands) and maintain appropriate "social distance."
For the avoidance of doubt, all these measures are applicable to all employees, irrespective of role or geography.
We are also applying additional measures which vary based on whether you have an office-based role, work in a sourcing unit, or are one of our field sales or retail staff:
SOURCING UNITS AND DISTRIBUTION CENTERS
• All of our sourcing units and distribution centers will apply specialist tiered protocols to protect our workers while supporting business continuity. Country leadership teams will continue to monitor carefully and engage with site leads as appropriate.
• Strict site protocols for hygiene and social distancing are also being put in place.
FIELD SALES AND RETAIL STAFF (INCLUDING 3P FIELD SALES AND MERCHANDISERS)
• All field sales employees should connect with customers virtually wherever possible and minimize the use of public transport if a customer visit is necessary.
• Strict protocols on social distancing (including non-physical greetings), and hand hygiene (especially after handling cash) will also be put in place and will be communicated shortly.
• All office-based employees globally should work from home. Any exceptions (which we expect to be few and far between, and most probably due to the need to access data-intensive systems) must be approved by the country General Manager.
• The only country where this does not apply is in China, where people are beginning to return to work per national controls.
• For R&D colleagues who work in laboratories or pilot plants on essential activities, protocols are now in development and will be shared by R&D site leads.
• It is likely that some R&D roles will follow the office-based protocols and some will follow the Sourcing Unit rules.
More details about these changes, which will be effective from March 17, will be shared by your country General Manager early next week.
I hope you agree that these measures are the right thing to do. They have been developed based on the latest scientific and medical advice and are designed to protect our safety, our families' safety, and the safety of the communities in which we operate and live. They also demonstrate Unilever's leadership as a responsible, purpose-led business.
We are continuing to support global and local authorities by donating hygiene products to support the fight against coronavirus and we will be further stepping-up these efforts in the days ahead.
I am acutely aware that these changes to our working arrangements will have a big impact on our lives.
None of the measures have been taken without careful thought and consideration about what this will mean for all of us, and I want to reassure you that we will support you through this change.
Further information – and regular updates – will follow. This will include more details on the protocols being put in place to help protect Sourcing Unit and Distribution colleagues, as well as Field Sales and Retail Staff. Also, for those of you who are about to embark on what we expect to be an extended period of working from home, we will shortly be sharing more guidance to help you during this period.
These are unprecedented times. Now, more than ever we need to stay calm, be resourceful, and do what we do best: focus on supporting each other, meeting the changing needs of our consumers, and on serving our customers."
Well said, Alan. Well said.