With the IGA China headquarters located at the Coronavirus epicenter in Wuhan and 1,000 IGA stores throughout China, IGA has insider knowledge about what it’s like to face the Coronavirus outbreak.
We spoke to Zhe Zeng, deputy representative to China, about what they would have done in the early stages of the disease had they known what was coming. See his answers for how to prepare, and watch The IGA Minute and IGA ALERT for more information coming soon.
Action Steps for the Early Stages of Coronavirus Spread
Ensure good cash flow and create a substantial reserve.
Use IGA resources, like the newIGA ALERTwebsite and IGA Coca-Cola Institute training classes, to educate staff about the virus and protocols, promote readiness, and share experiences.
Conduct onsite drills to estimate labor and material requirements under different scenarios.
Talk to local authorities and congressional representatives about how to keep the store and supply chains open, even if a state of emergency or lock down is enforced.
Closely track employees’ health conditions and ensure they know not to come to work if they are sick.
Look into using popular social networking apps (WeChat was used in China) to receive and sort online orders based on locations and publish information about offers. During public crises, the cost of acquiring new app users are very low as people heavily rely on social networking apps for information and shopping.
Use your Facebook page, website, and online and print ads to reach out to customers to promote products and peace of mind.
In the event of a quarantine, it's important to find alternative purchase sources. Talk with local restaurant owners and negotiate to buy their raw-material stock if restaurants close, and investigate working directly with local farmers.
Talk to your wholesaler and fellow retailers to share information on sourcing, compliance issues, and best practices.