Sysco's Flu/Pandemic Prodedures Manual


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Sysco's Flu/Pandemic Prodedures Manual

  1. 1. SYSCO PANDEMIC PREPAREDNESS LETTER October 2009 Introduction Sysco Corporation previously launched a major cross-functional team effort to develop a Pandemic Planning Manual. Based on lessons learned during the recent outbreak of H1N1, as well as continually updated guidance from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the company has updated and refined its pandemic plans and procedures in preparation for the upcoming flu season and the assumption that H1N1 will likely impact Sysco employees and customers alike in the coming months. Ultimately, the purpose of the Sysco Pandemic Planning Manual is to: • Define procedures that will allow continuation of Sysco operations at the highest possible levels under widespread pandemic conditions; • Guide an efficient company-wide response to flu outbreaks throughout North America and Canada. Utilizing this manual will allow sites, operating companies (OPCOS), and Corporate headquarters to coordinate decision-making during the management of a flu-related crisis; and • Outline a phased, escalating approach to ongoing planning strategies and response actions as the threat becomes more defined or the pandemic spread and/or severity worsen. Sysco’s pandemic plans provide a response that is consistent with the role of a critical infrastructure/key resource as outlined by national Homeland Security agencies. Those expectations include: • Establishing a process for infection control in the workplace, including options for working off-site while ill, systems to reduce infection transmission, and employee education; • Establishing internal surveillance protocols to monitor the health of employees and business stakeholders and to keep state and local public health officials informed as needed; • Developing pandemic-specific continuity of operations plans to maintain delivery of essential goods and services despite high levels of absenteeism; • Monitoring regional/international pandemic threat levels for trigger-point changes that will affect Sysco’s business; • Coordinating with government officials and community stakeholders to share planning, preparedness, response and recovery information; and • Establishing partnerships with other members of the response sector to provide mutual support and maintenance of essential services during a pandemic. 1
  2. 2. In addition to an overarching pandemic preparedness plan, Sysco has also developed a series of polices, guidance documents and procedures specifically to mitigate the potential affects of H1N1 influenza this fall. Sample materials include the following: • Vaccination programs • Attendance and absence reporting, including return to work guidance • Workplace hygiene and additional cleaning and disinfection measures • Escalated social distancing strategies • Essential function and key employee materials • Managing confirmed/suspected cases • Revised delivery procedures • Travel policies New policies or procedures will be created as new requirements are anticipated or identified. Highlights of Sysco Pandemic Plans The following provides an overview of key areas addressed in Sysco’s pandemic plans. A copy of the plan’s table of contents is attached to this letter. Crisis Management and Response Structure Although most day-to-day incidents are handled by the site and OPCO response teams, some potential crisis events, such as a pandemic, will require the activation of an expanded company-wide crisis management structure that includes the participation of executive management. Sysco has taken steps to strengthen and enhance its crisis management structure with the implementation of two Corporate-level teams as well as local facility-based teams. As part of this structure, Sysco has also appointed a full time crisis management program director. The role of this position is to lead and coordinate all aspects of Sysco’s Crisis Management Program to include Planning and Preparedness, Response, Mitigation and Recovery activities for crisis management, business continuity and emergency response. Duties of this position will involve corporate preparedness planning, event specific contingency planning (to include flu and pandemics), training, exercising, ongoing program maintenance, program awareness, management of crisis management resources and program quality assurance. Following is an overview of the company’s three-tiered crisis management structure: Local Response Structure Each Sysco OPCO or facility will have its own Emergency Management Team (EMT). These teams are responsible for coordinating directly with Sysco Corporate and the implementation and oversight of local response functions including oversight of Incident Management Teams, based on the National Incident Management System (NIMS) at key OPCOS. 2
  3. 3. Sysco decided to base its program on the NIMS model for several key reasons. First and foremost, NIMS is the gold standard for incident management throughout the United States. As part of the National Response Plan, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has designated Sysco and the food industry as one of the 17 national critical infrastructure/key resources. DHS has endorsed the implementation of NIMS by infrastructure/key resource sectors. Second, implementation of an incident management system like NIMS is a requirement of the Private Sector Preparedness Act (Title IX, PL 110-53) as well as NFPA 1600, the current US standard for business continuity/emergency management. Most importantly, implementing NIMS is an important component to reaching our corporate objectives for a world class crisis management program throughout Sysco. When faced with H1N1, local response teams at all OPCOS and facilities will play an important role in managing and mitigating the impact of the pandemic on our employees and operations. Specifically, they will be responsible for the following: • Creating a safe and healthy work environment and implementing programs to help slow the spread of the virus • Implementing pandemic specific guidance and policies, such as attendance, personal hygiene (cough and sneeze etiquette), cleaning protocols, alternate work arrangements, etc. • Ensuring ongoing, regular communications with all key audiences, including employees, customers, suppliers and vendors • Reviewing local supplier and vendor policies and/or quality assurance procedures • Providing additional security, as needed • Tracking increased absenteeism and managing potential impacts • Anticipating and addressing actual and potential business consequences • Responding to increasing/decreasing customer demands Tactical Support Team (TST) The Tactical Support Team (TST) is the Corporate level cross-functional team responsible for ensuring that the Sysco OPCOS and facilities have the best available resources necessary to effectively manage the impacts of a pandemic in their day-to-day operations. The TST also serves as the Corporate sentinel (see Operation Status Tracking) by observing and tracking the movement of flu outbreaks across the globe in order to provide early warning signals. This will allow Sysco to proactively develop business strategies to address potential impacts to business operations. During a pandemic, specific actions of this team may include: • Development of health and safety programs to protect and support our employees 3
  4. 4. • Creation of pandemic specific guidance and policies, including travel, vaccination, personal hygiene (i.e., cough and sneeze etiquette), cleaning and disinfecting workspaces, absenteeism, “key employees,” etc. • Development of overarching communications programs designed to educate and support employees, customers, suppliers and other stakeholders • Review/update the core supply list so that Sysco is ready to provide basic supplies if and when they are needed • Quality assurance and food safety oversight • Stockpiling of appropriate goods and materials Crisis Management Team (CMT) The Crisis Management Team (CMT) is the executive level oversight and decision- making body for Sysco during any potential or actual crisis event. The CMT will approve appropriate policies and strategies to manage business issues resulting from both the short-term and long-term impacts of the pandemic throughout the Sysco system. The CMT has the authority to define corporate policy and commit major corporate assets to addressing the overall response to a flu outbreak. Thresholds for Escalating Response Activity The CDC and WHO each have their own phases of escalation which provide important guidelines to the company’s response actions. However, Sysco has developed its own complementary escalation criteria to help guide pandemic response efforts and to ensure the company is able to respond proactively to emerging concerns and issues. Sysco’s escalation criteria emphasize severity and the spread of the pandemic in surrounding communities as well as related impacts on our employees, business operations and customer needs. During a pandemic, some areas may experience higher infection rates than others and thus, some Sysco companies or facilities may require an increased or heightened level of response activity. In addition to closely tracking employee and business impacts, Sysco will monitor appropriate Federal, state, county or local health agencies, review all distributed guidance, and then implement the corresponding, suitable preparedness actions. Operational Status Tracking Activities Sysco has implemented a tracking system to monitor the spread of the pandemic and its impact on employees or operations. This tracking mechanism and resulting report will serve as a significant decision-making aid to the CMT, TST and other key Sysco functional leaders as they define the strategies and response actions to address pandemic threats. A designated member of the OPCO Emergency Management Team or local management will be assigned the responsibility of monitoring local events as well as identifying pandemic related issues and reporting them to Corporate. During an escalated pandemic, each OPCO or operating site will submit regular updates on staffing, business continuation, supply chain and distribution issues. 4
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  6. 6. Workplace Safety Arrangements A pandemic may likely result in unusually high levels of absenteeism, including employees who are ill and those who are responsible for taking care of family members. This is a particularly critical issue for Sysco since a high percentage of its workforce includes warehousing, transportation and distribution where the physical presence of workers is required. There are a number of different programs that will be or have already been implemented across Sysco to slow the spread of the virus and help reduce infection among employees. This list is not all-inclusive but represents the core program elements: • Adopting rigorous workplace hygiene practices • Encouraging flu shots and vaccines • Providing employee hygiene packs • Implementing social distancing strategies • Offering alternate work arrangements where appropriate • Screening or limiting building access, if/when necessary As noted above, there are certain steps that Sysco will take in a diligent effort to slow the spread of the virus and to try to protect employees. Based on recommendations from the CDC and WHO, informational guidance material, fact sheets and training have been made available to Sysco employees on a number of hygiene and workplace safety topics. Each of these areas will be revisited or addressed based on further guidance and recommendations from leading agencies. Key topics may include the following: • Hand washing procedures • Sneeze/cough etiquette • Use of tissues and antiseptic wipes • Cleaning and disinfecting the workplace • Shared space hygiene practices • Family and home precautions/caring for sick family members • The use of masks, gloves, eye protection and other PPE when recommended by the CDC or WHO • Food preparation and handling • Sterilization of equipment Ongoing Communications Sysco has committed to a proactive, ongoing communications program targeting both internal and external stakeholders. The goal is not only to reassure customers that Sysco is ready to respond to the pandemic threat, but also to educate employees and others about the importance of good hygiene and other prevention methods. We are committed to only using reliable information sources such as the CDC and WHO in our 6
  7. 7. communications. We know and understand the importance of regular situational updates and also reinforcing safe workplace practices, such as cough and sneeze etiquette and staying away from work while sick. To support this effort, Sysco has created a resource library of background documentation, planning guidance, operational fact sheets and hygiene protocols that address issues and planning topics which are unique to the flu. These materials are based on recommendations and guidance from reputable, official sources such as the WHO, CDC, DHS and others. Essential Functions and Key Personnel During a pandemic which may threaten Sysco’s ability to continue operations with a curtailed workforce, it may become necessary to focus on the continuation of prioritized critical functions. Sysco has worked to define and understand those essential functions required to sustain operations and support our customers, including critical infrastructure, and the associated personnel needs. We have not only identified our “key personnel,” but have and will continue to communicate the importance of their role in maintaining operations, provide education and resources to help them stay healthy, and support additional cross training as needed. Careful consideration has also been given to the development of alternate work environments (i.e., telecommute) when and where appropriate. Food Safety/Quality Standards The potential impacts of a pandemic include not only concern for employee welfare, but also shortages in raw materials and disruptions in the supply chain. Depending on the type of pandemic and/or the public’s perception, some foods may/may not be perceived as safe. To proactively address such reactions, Corporate Merchandising will identify core products and core product item suppliers, and Quality Assurance will focus on ensuring their safety through systematic program steps such as requesting that each supplier validate existing programs. Sysco will continue to work closely with regulatory agencies. If any changes are identified, Corporate Quality Assurance will implement the necessary changes as quickly as possible. Product Demand Swings A pandemic will have various effects upon our business and that of our customers. In particular, we anticipate that there may be a significant change in both the amount and type of products normally demanded by existing Sysco customers, governmental agencies, the Red Cross, and the public-at-large. Below are samples of the types of scenarios around which Sysco is planning: • A decrease in the demand for certain types of food products due to association with the virus; • An increase in demand for canned and frozen goods, as well as basic survival supplies (water, non-perishable milk, fruit / protein bars, etc.); • A decrease in the demand for fresh produce due to limited shelf-life; 7
  8. 8. • An increase in the demand for chemical/janitorial/disinfectant products by healthcare and other institutional customers; and • An increased demand of pre-packaged, “to-go” meals. Sysco pandemic planning and response actions will emphasize understanding the actual and anticipated fluctuation in demand for its products. The goal is to ensure that all OPCOS and Corporate can quickly and efficiently adapt to the changing requirements and ensure the right products are in place to meet evolving customer needs. Analysis of customer forecasts and actual orders will allow Sysco to effectively anticipate, prepare for and respond to increases or decreases in the demand for core and non-core products. Vendor Outreach Given the speed with which a potential pandemic is likely to progress, the Corporate Merchandising department along with Merchandising personnel from each Sysco OPCO is gathering, documenting and maintaining the contact information of all the current vendors in order to establish and maintain direct communications throughout an outbreak. This preparation will allow Sysco and vendors to communicate with each other swiftly about current developments in product demand and availability. At the same time, we are requesting pandemic planning information from our vendors to ensure response actions are aligned. Product Supply & Transportation We understand that a pandemic will increase the demand for certain products and perhaps dramatically decrease the demand for others. Sysco is dedicated to meeting our customers’ evolving needs during this time. We’ve developed a number of planning and preparedness steps to maintain business-as-usual operations for as long as possible in the face of a pandemic. However, if the severity of the situation escalates, Sysco may need to source from alternate suppliers. They will be required to meet the same quality standards of any current supplier. A pandemic may also affect transportation resources. In fact, disruptions may arise for any number of reasons even including regional travel restrictions. Sysco’s planning process has focused on this critical component of our operations to ensure disruptions are held to a minimum. As part of that effort, we have identified a number of contingency options to help ensure product delivery to our customers. Coordination with Federal and National Response Agencies As part of its initial pandemic planning process, Sysco conducted a series of meetings with key Federal, military, state government and other public sector agencies. The purpose was to maximize coordination with the government/public sector during disasters and to gather information to further enhance Sysco’s mass care food distribution role in disaster response. Meetings have been held with: • State of Texas Department of Homeland Security • American Red Cross • Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) 8
  9. 9. • U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Infrastructure Partnerships Division Outcomes from these initial meetings included: • Gaining designation as a critical infrastructure/key resource for Federal level disaster response • Understanding the different strategies for Federal, state and Red Cross food distribution • Determining how Sysco can establish working relationships with Federal, state, local governments and relief agencies to be implemented during a pandemic • Clarifying existing and future military agreements and expectations Sysco continues to remain in close contact with Federal and national response agencies, such as FEMA and the American Red Cross, as well as state agencies to discuss existing plans, review any additional resources or support requirements, and ensure that Sysco is ready to provide the appropriate level of service. In Conclusion We at Sysco realize that no one can predict with accuracy the spread or severity of the pandemic this fall and into next year. With that in mind, we have developed a flexible response structure that will allow us to respond quickly, protect our employees and adjust our business operations to meet changing customer needs and support any disaster response efforts. Government agencies such as the CDC have released a variety of planning guidance which we have reviewed and incorporated into our response plans. Sysco is determined to take a proactive approach to preparedness in general and pandemic response in particular. We will continue to modify and develop our response plans and procedures as necessary and as we learn more about this threat. For additional information contact: Sandra G. Carson Sysco Corporation 1370 Enclave Parkway Houston, TX 77077 281-584-1741 Local contact: Jason Gormley Sysco Northern New England 44 Thomas Drive Westbrook, ME 04092 9
  10. 10. 207-253-7026 10
  11. 11. Sysco Pandemic Planning Manual Table of Contents Introduction • Pandemic Risks and Threats • Organization Response Structure (Crisis Management and Tactical Support Teams) • Corporate Input and Role of the OPCOS and Facilities • Sysco Escalation Phases Using this Manual • Planning and Response Checklists • Country Specific Implementation Section A – OPCO and Facility Emergency Management • OPCO/Facility Incident Management Structure • Emergency Management Team • Checklist: Emergency Management Functions Section B – Operational Status Tracking • Business Impacts Report Section C – Workplace / Safety Arrangements • Vaccination • Employee Hygiene Packs • Personal Hygiene • Facility Maintenance and Operations • Self-isolation • Alternative Work Arrangements • Entrance Screening • Limiting Third-Party Access • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) • Checklist: Workplace / Safety Arrangements Section D – Human Resources / Benefits • Benefits Review • Pandemic-Specific Policies and Guidance Development • Employee Assistance and Push/Pull Numbers • Employee Tracking • Identify and Categorize Essential Functions and Key Personnel • Work Arrangements: Standard Locations • Work Arrangements: Telecommute • Cross Training • Checklist: Human Resources / Benefits Section E – Internal/External Communications • Audiences and Stakeholders (internal and external) • Communications Responsibilities 11
  12. 12. • Communications Liaisons and Structure • Use of Credible Sources • Sample Communications Materials and Tools • Resource Library • Checklist: Internal/External Communications Section F – Supply Chain • Customer Identification and Outreach • Vendor Coordination • Identification, Supply and Storage of Core Items • Forecasting and Inventory Management • Transportation • Shipping and Receiving • Temporary Closure of Facilities • Checklist: Supply Chain Section G – Food Safety / Quality Standards • Quality Assurance and Suppliers • Food Safety Programs for Core Items Suppliers • Regulatory Authorities • Trade Associations • Checklist: Food Safety / Quality Standards Section H – Product Handling • Food Safety Instruction Modifications • Product Handling Instructions • Checklist: Product Handling Section I – Assistance to Government Response • Coordination with the Federal Government • Coordination with State and Local Government • Product Transportation • Federal Coordination • Checklist: Assistance to Government Response Section J – Security • Building Security • Tailgate Delivery • Checklist: Security 12