Distribution responds as Manila enters lockdown
- 18 March, 2020 10:01
President Rodrigo Duterte
Distributors are responding to sweeping measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus in the Philippines, with more than 55 million quarantined on the island of Luzon, home to capital city Manila.
With president Rodrigo Duterte placing over half of the country’s entire population on lockdown until 12 April - declared as a ‘state of calamity’ - the impact on the supply chain is expected to be severe, as distributors, vendors and resellers struggle to gain access to hardware equipment such as devices, routers and servers, among other supplies.
In response, VST ECS Philippines has suspended operations while Westcon-Comstor has initiated business continuity plans through a remote working policy, with Exclusive Networks moving all engagements online.
According to Jimmy Go - president and CEO of VST ECS Philippines - the suspension of operations will remain in place until a new announcement is made by the government regarding the lockdown.
As explained by Go in a statement to local vendors and partners, the enhanced community quarantine translates to total lockdown on transportation, strict home quarantine, heightened presence of uniformed personnel and regulated food supply and health services.
“Difficult it may seem, we respect this mandate of the government to ensure that the spread of the pathogen is minimised, if not, stopped,” Go said. "We have provided our sales personnel with remote access to allow us to accommodate and address your concerns in whatever capacity we can considering the limited access we have to our company resources."
Meanwhile, Westcon-Comstor continues to "monitor and respond" to the virus with the priority of maintaining the health and welfare of employees, in addition to limiting business impacts for customers and vendors.
Revealed via a joint statement issued by Jessica Powell - country manager of Westcon Group Philippines - and Jenny Diamzon - country manager of Westcon Solutions Philippines - the distributor has established business continuity plans and is communicating regularly with regional and global teams while executing a work from home program for all staff in Manila.
“We are happy to report that after day one of the work from home program, we have 100 per cent staff connectivity, productivity and engagement,” the statement added. “Our team members are able to process orders, issue electronic invoices, provide customer support and securely connect to all of the business critical applications we use to manage our business in the Philippines and across Asia Pacific.
“Please be assured that our sales and support teams are doing everything possible to mitigate supply chain and service impacts to our customers, including working with our vendors and freight partners to monitor and advise of potential issues.”
Going forward, Westcon-Comstor also issued commitment to policies and communications in line with recommendations from the government and other health organisations.
“We would like to give you our personal assurance that the Westcon-Comstor team are committed to the protection and maintenance of our partnership with you at this very challenging time,” the statement added.
In a more broader company statement, Exclusive Networks in Asia has offered assistance to an ecosystem managing supply chain disruption and strict quarantine measures across Southeast Asia.
“With more companies experimenting working from home, we want to let you know that we are here to help in any way we can,” a statement posted via social media read. “The health and wellbeing of our people, partners and customers is our utmost priority and we have been monitoring the Covid-19 situation very closely.”
As a result, the distributor is switching all meetings, trainings and events to virtual and webinar sessions, alongside delivering business-as-usual services.
“Although there might be situations of possible delays due to staffing limitations imposed by the government in different countries,” the statement added. “Adapting and dealing with change is part of the Exclusive spirit - so please be reassured that we at Exclusive are committed to supporting you through this challenging time and we will continue to keep you up-do-date.”