Coronavirus Statement and FAQs

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Coronavirus statement and FAQ

Why are your Distribution Centres (DCs) still open?

The health, safety and wellbeing of our people and customers is our number one priority and at the heart of everything we do at RS. A high number of our customers are in critical industries such as the public sector (including the NHS in the UK), food & beverage manufacturing, power generation, utilities and more recently ventilator production. We play a vital role in these customers’ supply chains, including the provision of personal, protective equipment (PPE) where stock allows. Many of our employees, particularly those working in our DCs, are fulfilling an important role in maintaining the flow of these essential supplies. While we continue to support these important organisations, we are adhering to advice from government health agencies including the World Health Organisation.

What measures have you put in place to protect your workers?

We are committed to following the government guidelines in respect to home working and have moved all of our non-DC staff to homeworking. This has not been an easy task given the condensed timelines, but it has been successful and we have had some amazing stories of people innovating to support our customers and being able to adapt to working from home.

Additional measures we have put in place to protect our employees include:
o For our workers that need to be on site to fulfil their vital role we have split shifts, to minimise contact
o Additional hand sanitisers and disinfectant for all work surfaces are provided
o Instructed employees on entry and exit to sanitise their hands which is being monitored by our security teams
o Increased our cleaning teams to include regular cleaning of frequent touch points on a continuous basis
o Making ‘Health & Safety’ and ‘Management’ teams more visible, reinforcing the social distancing and 2 metre distance rules
o Rearranging working areas, where practical. Where we have been unable to do so, we have changed our processes so that employees take turns to use an area
o Providing extra PPE for employees
o Restricted access to the DCs for all other personnel, contractors/visitors and stopping delivery drivers entering our premises
o Making mental health first aiders available (through our Employee Assistance Program) to provide emotional support where needed whilst encouraging and supporting our vulnerable people to self-isolate
o Implementing a robust reporting process aligned to global and local guidance that is reviewed by our H&S and risk teams regularly
o Closed our trade counter in Johannesburg

Are you using the Government TERS scheme to protect your people?

Like many businesses across SA we have taken the decision to use the Government TERS scheme. Our focus is the protection of jobs and our business, while trying to maintain the best possible service for our customers and suppliers. This important scheme introduced by the Government will protect people’s roles during these difficult unprecedented times.

What is RS doing to support the nation and government during the current crisis?

A high number of our customers are in critical industries such as the public sector, food and beverage manufacturing, power generation and utilities. We play a vital role in these customers’ supply chains. We have received many requests from customers, who provide essential services (food producers, medical suppliers, utilities providers and more recently ventilator producers), requesting our assurance that we can continue to supply.

Is your Trade Counter in Midrand still open for business?

Following Government’s announcement of the shutdown, we have taken the decision to close the RS Trade Counter in Midrand. However, we are continuing to offer online shopping – if you provide essential services or fall into the Level 4 Shutdown list of sectors as of 1 May 2020 (as prescribed by government) we can process your order depending on stock availability. Your order will be delivered to you unless otherwise prearranged with our customer services team. If you are a non-essential customer or you do not fall into the list of Level 4 Shutdown sectors, you can still place your order which will only be delivered after the lockdown. This means we can continue our operations and do not have to close completely. However, keeping our customers, our people and their families healthy is a priority to us.

Has there been a change to the opening hours of your customer services teams?

No, our operating hours have remained from 8:00 to 17:00, Monday to Friday. This will cover emails, telephony and Live Chat.

We are working hard to provide excellent customer service during the COVID-19 pandemic and support our customers who are providing essential services.

Why aren’t you providing the 4-6 day working delivery service anymore?

Unfortunately, due to global travel restrictions air freight has been severely impacted. This means that there are limited flights on an ad hoc basis into South Africa bringing in orders from various DCs around the world. This means that we cannot guarantee the 4-6 day delivery times that appear on the website. We apologies for any inconvenience this causes and as soon as we are able to receive regular shipments this service will become available once again.

Do you have any face masks in stock?

Demand has been unprecedented for face masks and currently we have very limited stock, however this is changing daily. We are working tirelessly with our suppliers to secure additional stock.

What is your stock position on other PPE products?

We are investing significantly in those PPE products that we are seeing higher than usual demand for. These include: aprons, disposable gloves, hand cleaners and soaps, hand wipes, multi-purpose wipes, overalls, reusable respirators, reusable respirator accessories and safety goggles and more. Our stock levels change daily, and we are working closely with our suppliers to be able to meet the demands required in these unprecedented times. To check our stock levels on an item please visit our website or contact your local customer services team.

What about wider stock availability, do you anticipate any issues?

We hold a substantial depth of inventory. We have been in contact with all our suppliers to confirm the availability of stock and we are confident that we are currently in a strong position.

Are you prioritising stock for the impacted regions?

We are seeing a significant increase in demand for products such as face masks, hand gel and other PPE products. We’re working with our supplier partners and doing everything we can to maintain good levels of stock.

Do products coming from other countries present a contamination risk?

No, people receiving packages are not at risk of contracting COVID-19. From previous analysis, the World Health Organisation has stated that it does not survive long on objects such as letters or packages. We are waiting for further guidance on this and will update our guidance accordingly.