Nisbets has set up a cross-functional team to examine ways in which it can minimise the effect of coronavirus on its business.
It is not clear how many people make up the team, but their role involves assessing possible scenarios to look after the company’s employees and mitigate any impacts on customers, including products being out of stock.
The Bristol-based supplier has added a page to its website on its ‘response to coronavirus’, detailing its position on product availability.
Nisbets, which recorded a turnover of almost £400m in its last financial year, sources a wide range of products from the Far East, including some of its own-label brands, and confirmed that the virus outbreak may have an impact on stock availability.
“The team is working hard to mitigate this by working closely with our supply chain to minimise potential disruption, particularly for key product lines,” it stated.
“We are the market leader for range and availability of products and we are working hard to ensure these service levels are maintained.”
It said customers could get in touch with their main point of contact or look at the product pages of the website if they have questions relating to stock levels.
“We hold a good depth of inventory. We have been in contact with all our suppliers to confirm the availability of stock and we are confident that we have continuity of supply,” it added.
Nisbets’ financial accounts show that it owns two businesses registered in China: Nisbets Asia Ltd and Red Ribbon Trading (Shenzhen) Co. Ltd.
Red Ribbon Trading describes itself as a wholly western-owned sourcing operation specialising in the procurement of quality catering equipment for all markets.
Other FAQs that Nisbets addresses on the web page include the availability of cleaning-related products that are in high demand among hospitality businesses right now.
It called demand for sanitiser “unprecedented” and said it currently has limited availability. “We are working with our suppliers to try to secure additional stock,” it stated.
It is also investing significantly in personal protective equipment products that it is seeing higher-than-usual demand for. This includes aprons, disposable gloves, hand cleaners and soaps, hand wipes and multi-purpose wipes.
Additionally, it directly addressed the question of whether products coming from Asia might present a contamination risk.
“People receiving packages from China are not at risk of contracting the coronavirus. From previous analysis, the World Health Organisation have stated that coronaviruses do not survive long on objects such as letters or packages. We are waiting for further guidance on this and will update our communications accordingly,” Nisbets said.
Nisbets employs more than 2,100 staff across the globe.