The world relies on Cisco products to communicate and conduct business, and our manufacturing and components suppliers have been at work making these products throughout the course of the pandemic. In addition to the high demand for our products amid the global shift to remote work, COVID-19 continues to create a challenging operating environment for our suppliers and their employees.
We continue to work to protect workers and drive resiliency in both our key manufacturing partner sites and with suppliers where we source components around the world. By being more flexible in where we manufacture, we were able to shift production away from sites impacted by COVID-19 and shut down for periods when needed. With our key manufacturing partners, we have taken and continue to take the following actions:
- Tracking the impacts of COVID-19 around the world, including active cases and quarantined employees who work at manufacturing sites.
- Compiling and assessing practices enacted across manufacturing sites and actively encouraging manufacturers to be proactive and focus on prevention.
- Sharing guidelines and best practices for protecting workers from COVID-19, including staggering shift start/stop and break times, acknowledging the mental well-being and health of workers, and screening workers when entering the workplace.
- Actively collaborating with our manufacturers to support right-sized approaches to protecting and supporting their workers.
- Supporting manufacturers financially to conduct monthly testing of their employees, and working with suppliers to account for these costs moving forward, to ensure adequate resources are dedicated to protecting workers from COVID-19.
- Working with manufacturers to reduce order volatility to support a stabilized workforce, encouraging manufacturers to retain workers and prevent layoffs and reduce crowding on the manufacturing floor.
Within our components supply chain, we assessed whether suppliers in geographies facing outbreaks had adequate protections and procedures in place to prevent the spread of disease on site.
Of the sites we surveyed, we required six to take action and address gaps to their COVID-19 containment plans so that they implemented proper quarantine areas and procedures, procedures for managing visitors, and procedures for containing disease if positive cases were identified in the workplace. In one case, a supplier did not have a COVID-19 plan in place, and our teams worked with the supplier to develop and implement a plan in accordance with our guidelines.
For sites that employed foreign migrant workers, we assessed whether:
- Protections were in place appropriate for workers’ needs, including COVID-19 information in the languages that they speak and access to COVID-19 testing.
- Dormitory environments had action plans in case of outbreaks and PPE available to workers staying in dorms.
We recommended that sites provided Wi-Fi or cellular data support so that foreign migrant workers could stay connected to their families during the pandemic. In one case, we worked to ensure the supplier provided free face masks to workers on site. We maintain a pulse of emerging issues related to COVID-19 and sent out quarterly newsletters to our supply base, disseminating resources and information to assist suppliers to protect and support workers as situations evolved.