Measures At GVK BIO In Response To The Covid-19 Pandemic
16th March, 2020
First and foremost, I wish you, your organization, and your families, the best and good health as we work through the ongoing global health pandemic. GVK BIO has a core value of “Safety and Compliance Always” and through this challenging time, we are taking several precautions at the company to ensure our employees are safe and that your projects are progressing as planned. We are closely monitoring the updates from various Governments and agencies including the Government of India, the WHO (World Health Organization), the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, USA), among others.
I take this opportunity to update you on the measures we have taken, effective this week, to protect our employees and to mitigate risks to your projects.
Preventive measures and response teams:
- GVK BIO has set up a Covid-19 Command Center (CCC) consisting of senior leaders with decision making authority. This command center is tasked, trained, and empowered to coordinate a response in the event of an emergency, and is also the point of contact for employees with any query related to the Covid-19 pandemic.
- We have switched to facial scanning for employees over biometrics for security, and video conferencing is now the preferred mode for meetings. Employees not required to be at work, are encouraged to work from home and have been provided secure access including video conferencing capability.
- All employees, contractors, and visitors entering any GVK BIO campus are subject to thermal scans; Qualified medical personnel are available at all sites to attend to any emergency, and address employee questions. We have advised any employee having cold, cough or flu-like symptoms to work from home, and meet with their physician immediately. Our EHS and Supply Chain teams are working closely with our contractors to ensure that they implement best practices to protect their employees, and ours.
- Labs and several work areas are access controlled, restricting free flow of scientists and personnel. We have run several campaigns to educate our employees and contractors on good personal hygiene, regular sanitization and social distancing. All public events at GVK BIO have been cancelled until further notice, and meetings are restricted to a maximum of 20 personnel. Employees who have to be in labs and plants have been advised to bring in lunch, and cafeteria hours are staggered to ensure social distancing. All personnel have been advised to take the stairs over elevators to the extent possible, with local EHS teams guiding behavior. Cafeterias, Offices, Labs, Warehouses, Elevators, Meeting rooms, are cleaned and sanitized regularly three times a day.
- International travel has been banned for GVK BIO employees, and domestic travel is severely restricted. We are in the process of informing our international customers and suppliers about the government mandated suspension of travel to India until mid-April. Domestic customers and suppliers have been asked to restrict their visits to GVK BIO and conduct business via video or phone/teleconference.
- Project tracking: We are regularly monitoring both current and scheduled projects for delays, and taking proactive steps to minimize customer impact.
- Site redundancy: Our Discovery and Development/Manufacturing operations were setup in two cities, for risk mitigation. Discovery sites are located in Bangalore and Hyderabad, while Development/Manufacturing sites are located are in Vizag and Hyderabad, providing geographical diversity to our customers in the event of a temporary impact at one of our sites.
- Stocking of Supplies: Each of our sites are self-sufficient, can operate independently, and have their own ware-housing for chemicals, and utilities. We have stocked up on daily supplies, common reagents, and solvents at each of our warehouses to manage supply chain disruptions.
- Dual Sourcing: We are dual sourced for most raw materials, and have engaged preferred partners that can supply us at short notice. To the extent possible we have at least two suppliers for each program and have built-in geographical diversity in the supply chain. With ongoing projects, we are in continuous contact with our suppliers to ensure minimal impact on timelines, and if necessary, are modifying the supply chain to mitigate delays.
- Augmenting human resources: We have strong leadership at both the scientific and organizational levels, and decision making can be rapidly delegated to the next level down with minimal impact to our customer projects. We have added to our pool of scientists and engineers and they can rapidly be assigned to projects, if need be.
Despite these measures, we realize that this is a fluid situation that is still continuously changing and evolving. In this time of uncertainty, I want to thank you for your trust and confidence in GVK BIO, and look forward to continuing our partnership to Accelerate your R&D.
If you have any further questions/concerns, please feel to reach out to your primary point of contacts at GVK BIO for specific clarifications.
With Best Regards,
CEO, GVK BIO
Safety and Compliance Always