With much of the world, DuPont Water Solutions is closely monitoring the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and its implications for our workforce, customers, products and operations.
As you know, the extraordinary measures being taken to contain the spread of the virus are significantly impacting people, businesses and supply chains globally. That said, we know how vital it is for our customers to stay operational—as much of the world relies on your systems to access an abundance of safe water, food, medicine, and power.
We take that responsibility very seriously. In additional to implementing a Coronavirus Response Team to continually monitor and address any challenges related to COVID-19, we are working diligently to protect the health and safety of our workforce, while meeting the needs of our customers.
For example, in some parts of the world, our employees who are able to work from home are encouraged to do so. This past weekend, our Customer Service team started to work from home and are committed servicing your needs without any disruption. Here are a few updates for our customers:
- All Production Sites Operational/ Fombio Restarted on 3/9/2020: As of today, all of our production sites are operational and producing product for our customers. Over the course of the virus, we’ve had three manufacturing sites (two in China and one in Italy) that temporarily shut down per government directives—ranging from a couple of days to two weeks. We proactively worked with local authorities to put measures in place to restart production with as little risk to our people or products as possible. For example, local authorities in Huzhou, China supported us with a mask supply and helped enable the deliveries of raw materials. And in Fombio, Italy local government authorities helped us safely restart operations despite the nationwide lockdown.
- Global Production Network Supporting Business Continuity: Our strategy to host production at sites all over the world is key to our business continuity—with the ability to move orders if any sites are temporarily shut down. For example, during the few days that we slowed production at our productions sites in China, we reviewed orders and shifted production to other locations to meet customer needs. We believe our global supply network is one of the strongest in the industry and will serve us well as we navigate this evolving pandemic.
- Supply Reliability: Over the last few weeks, we’ve taken several steps to increase supply reliability for our customers. First, we’ve proactively built up inventory. Second, we’ve moved additional inventory closer to our customers, to more quickly get you what you need, even if industry faces future shipping challenges. Finally, we are partnering with transportation carriers to maintain adaptability to the evolving situation.
- Ensuring Raw Material Availability: Over the last several weeks, we’ve secured more inventory of raw materials to mitigate the risk of any global shortages. Additionally—as a matter of regular business—we maintain safety stocks of certain critical raw materials needed for our products.
- Unlikely Product Exposure to COVID-19: To answer a question posed by a few of our customers, it is highly UNLIKELY that any of our products have been exposed to COVID-19, per several doctors on DuPont’s medical team. While the novel coronavirus is so new and there is much still to be learned by epidemiologists, here is what we DO know.
- First, we are thankful to report that (as of today) we have no known cases of COVID-19 on our production teams—or the rest of our Water Solutions workforce.
- Second, based on the nature of our products, our production processes are designed to ensure a clean product—from the protective gear worn by our employees on production lines to processes that inactivate bacteria and viruses. For example, our preservation solutions challenge bacteria or viruses to respire (and thus grow) on wet RO membranes or UF modules. The production steps for our ion exchange resins include very high and/or very low pH conditions and high temperatures, known to inactivate bacteria and viruses.
- Finally, according to tests done by the World Health Organization and the CDC, there is a finite amount of time that the virus can live on inanimate objects—at most nine days. Between storage and shipping times, by the time you receive our products, the risk of catching the Coronavirus from it is extremely low.
- Shipments from Site: As we believe the potential for transmission of the virus from our products is likely very low, we are not stopping shipment of product from our sites. As the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control have shared, the likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low and the risk of catching the virus that causes COVID-19 from a package that has been moved, travelled, and exposed to different conditions and temperature is also low.
- Product Testing: While we will continue to test used products that customers send to our labs, we are experiencing a bit of a backlog. A few of our testing facilities have been required to limit personnel in line with regional directives to reduce the spread of the virus. If you need lab services, our processes will point you to the best location to send your elements for testing. While there will be some delays in completing reports, we remain committed to helping you troubleshoot challenges so that you can continue to serve your customers.
- Supporting the Health of our Workforce: We are taking several measures to protect the health and safety of our workforce, from leveraging a global network of medical experts and increasing cleanings of our facilities to implementing travel restrictions. We will continue to keep the safety and health of our workforce as a core value as we work to deliver our commitments to our customers.
Thank you for your continued partnership as we navigate through the coming weeks. As you can understand, this is a very dynamic situation and this letter reflects the best information currently available to us. We will alert you as soon as possible if new challenges alter our supply capabilities. I encourage you to contact your account manager if you have any additional questions or concerns.
President, DuPont Water Solutions