The 2020 Mid-Year Economic Update_long

How Distributors Can Help Customers Comply with COVID-19 Safety Rules

Industrial vending machines not only offer customers the opportunity to provide safety and PPE, but also help track employee compliance during times of heightened risk.
Professional workers in hazmat suits disinfecting indoor of cafe or restaurant, pandemic health risk, coronavirus

The coronavirus crisis of 2020 has changed the very way we do business, from the addition of stringent sanitation requirements and employee safety policies, to mitigating supply chain disruption and operational shutdowns.

As the world works to steady itself and get back to business, one thing remains clear: Distributors’ customers must have reliable access to the equipment and supplies they need for employee and customer safety, as well as those required for regulatory compliance.

Your customers have a responsibility to provide a safe and healthy workplace. OSHA recently released updated guidance specifically related to COVID-19 in the workplace. It offers recommended infection prevention methods for high-risk job categories including health care personnel and first responders. Jobs considered medium and low risk also now face new safety protocols and personal protective equipment (PPE) recommendations.

Can you become a trusted partner to your customers as they navigate these new standards? Considerations include:

  • Where, how and to what sources of COVID-19 exposure workers may be exposed
  • Promotion of frequent and thorough handwashing
  • Maintaining regular housekeeping and sanitation practices
  • Implementation of engineering and administrative controls
  • Development of PPE program based on hazards and environment
  • Encouraging workers to stay home if sick or displaying symptoms
  • Development of contingency plan in the wake of an outbreak
  • Providing access to safety and PPE items that can prevent exposure to COVID-19

When critical inventory items are missing or mismanaged, the result is often production delays and higher procurement costs. But during the time of COVID-19, inventory mismanagement can also lead to higher risks of exposure to the virus. What’s more, when companies have high incident rates due to failure to enforce a strict PPE program, they also tend to experience a loss in manpower, higher workers’ compensation costs and regulatory fines.

Vending machines are a safe and effective way to track and dispense critical inventory items at the point of use. The software associated with vending solutions allows customers to gain real-time visibility into their inventory needs, eliminating stockouts and overages. Inventory control solutions also provide end-users with 24/7 access to the material they need to work safely, with zero excuses for non-compliance.

Also see: “Don’t Confuse Reducing Customers’ Inventory with a Reduction in Profit.”

Industrial vending machines not only offer customers the opportunity to provide safety and PPE, but also help track employee compliance during times of heightened risk. Noncompliance, whether intentional or not, can place the business in direct violation of state and federal regulations. That’s why it’s more important than ever that organizations confirm the availability and usage of PPE items.

Vending machines can vend common PPE items of all sizes:

  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Safety Gloves
  • Goggles
  • Face Shields
  • Face Masks
  • Medical Masks
  • Respiratory protection
  • Eye Protection
  • Ear Protection
  • Fall Protection
  • Safety Vests

Become a Partner in a Time of Crisis

Building customer relationships is critical for the distributor looking to compete in this turbulent market. As customer expectations and needs evolve, their suppliers must be willing and able to adapt to those changing needs. To that end, vending has become big business over the past decade because it provides customers with solutions that help them save on inventory costs, while improving their operational efficiency.

The COVID-19 outbreak is just one example of changing employer obligations regarding the safety and health of employees and guests. Even before the virus, businesses would often struggle with effective inventory control on mission-critical items and safety equipment.

When industrial vending is offered as a value-added service, distributors find that their customers achieve better inventory control, improved safety compliance, lower carrying costs, reduced stockouts and improved productivity. These benefits amount to more than just dollars and cents; it results in stronger partnerships and happier customers.

Mark Hill has 40 years’ experience in industrial distribution and vending. He is the founder of industrial vending solutions company 1sourcevend. Learn more at 1sourcevend.com or contact him at mhill@1sourcevend.com

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