Kroger Offers a Blueprint to Help America's Businesses Plan to Reopen Safely
CINCINNATI, OH - The retail industry is doing all it can to safely and efficiently navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, with many operators implementing short-term strategies to help return a balance to the market. As time progresses, we are all better able to react to the current circumstances, and Kroger is one retailer now projecting a more long-term strategy.
The retailer has published the first installment of Sharing What We've Learned: A Blueprint for Businesses to provide actionable recommendations for retailers, restaurants and foodservice companies, manufacturers, logistics and distribution centers, and other industries to consider as they start crafting plans for safe work environments while the COVID-19 risk persists.
"With nearly 2,800 grocery stores, 35 manufacturing plants, 44 distribution centers, and 460,000 associates across the country, Kroger has learned and continues to learn a lot while keeping our stores and supply chain open and serving America during the pandemic," said Rodney McMullen, Chairman and CEO. "As an essential business, we have led with our Purpose: to Feed the Human Spirit and have taken extensive measures across our footprint to safeguard our associates, customers, and supply chain. We are sharing what we've learned to help businesses begin to reopen safely and in sync with their respective state plans."
Kroger's Blueprint includes actionable recommendations and learnings that the company has applied in the last six weeks to safeguard its associates, customers, and communities, as well as what it has learned through regular interaction with business leaders in other countries, including Italy, Singapore, and China—all of which were ahead of the U.S. in terms of the pandemic cycling through their countries.
"We decided from the onset of this crisis that transparency, agility, and responsiveness would be our guiding principles, and we are now sharing what we've learned as an extension of our values," continued McMullen.
According to a press release, many recommendations can be adapted for any industry sector, and the Blueprint provides a set of distinct, deliberate processes for several key sectors, including retail, manufacturing, distribution centers/supply chain, foodservice/restaurants, and office environments.
Last week, several U.S. Governors and business organizations asked Kroger to help their state's businesses to reopen safely. Kroger developed its new platform, KrogerBlueprint.com, in 36 hours to begin providing immediate assistance to states and businesses with plans to update with new learnings in real time.
"It's critical for businesses to let their values guide their actions and to develop protocols and procedures in advance of reentering the marketplace to safely reopen, protecting customers and employees, and flattening the curve," said McMullen. "We recognize that not all businesses are the same. What worked for us may not work for some companies. And while there is no 'one thing' that makes all the difference, taking a comprehensive, thoughtful approach to safety will lead to better outcomes."
Elements of Kroger's Blueprint are available now for the retail sector on KrogerBlueprint.com, including a 17-page PDF and downloadable creative assets including in-store signs and audio files. Kroger will continue to update the Blueprint in the coming days and weeks, providing additional recommendations, insights, best practices, tools, and templates for other industries to leverage.
"We share our learnings with the same spirit that many business leaders from around the world have generously shared their experiences with our company, which helped us anticipate the steps we needed to take to provide a safe environment for our associates and customers," concluded McMullen. "We know that we don't, and we won't, have all the answers—no one business or organization will. It will take all of us sharing openly the ingenuity that has always been the heart of American free enterprise to get through this, together, allowing America to come out stronger."
As more long-term strategies on successfully operating a business amidst COVID-19, keep checking in on reports from ANUK.