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Industry Updates

If People Aren’t Protected, ‘Nothing Moves’


As consumers, we’d gotten used to assuming that things almost magically appear on store shelves or at our front door when we need them. But in 2020, the general public has learned about this thing called the “supply chain,” and, more importantly, that there are real people who keep the chain moving.

Perhaps sensing that some people still need to be reminded about the warehouse workers, truckers, store employees and more who are on this particular front line, the Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM) posted a reminder about the human element in supply chains.

“Any disruption, whether it be environmental, geopolitical or disease, causes disruption to the entire supply chain. The difference is that now we have a disruption to the people that work in processing plants, manage warehouses and transport goods,” said ASCM CEO Abe Eshkenazi, CSCP, CPA, CAE. “Whether we’re talking about meat, milk, packaged goods or whatever product, if workers don’t feel safe in their environment, consumer and patient needs can’t be met. People are the fuel of supply chains, and if they’re not protected, nothing moves.”

ASCM said it supports guidelines issued by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that include:

  • Proper sanitation and cleaning of facilities
  • COVID-19 testing for employees
  • 6-foot social distancing
  • The use of appropriate personal protective equipment
  • Screening of employees before entering work facilities 

To help organizations safely navigate the new realities of COVID-19, ASCM created a web page of resources. It includes links to webinars and other pertinent information.


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