Statement regarding Coronavirus from Bunzl Lockhart Catering Equipment
Monday March 16th
We are conscious that many of our valued customers are increasingly concerned about the on-going outbreak of the Covid-19 Coronavirus in the UK and the ability of companies to continue to supply them during what is a rapidly evolving situation.
Over the last few weeks Lockhart have been developing a range of contingency plans designed to ensure continuity of supply to our customers under a number of different scenarios. This statement is designed to update you on our plans and reassure you about our ability to maintain service levels to you.
1. Order processing
Lockhart has a large customer service team based in 3 separate offices in the UK. These teams process orders received by telephone or e-mail. We have put in place a number of contingency plans to ensure we can continue to process orders even if we experience high levels of employee absence or are forced to close an entire sales office due to Coronavirus.
These include the ability to switch order processing between sites and also equip staff with laptops so that they can work from home if required. In addition, Lockhart also has a sophisticated fully transactional website at www.lockhart.co.uk and many of largest customers now choose to place their orders online. Any customer with a Lockhart trade account can self-register for web ordering in less than 2 minutes which will instantly allow them to place orders online. The website displays account-specific contract pricing as well as real time information about stock levels and our entire product range is available.
We are therefore confident that we will be able to accept and process orders for customers.
2. Product Availability
Lockhart has been building its stock levels over the last few weeks and is now holding record levels of stock in its 2 UK warehouses. We have the ability to move stock between these warehouses on a daily basis as required.
We have also put in place second-sourcing options on all critical lines to provide a back-up solution should we experience any issues obtaining deliveries from our normal supply-chain partners. Lockhart sources products on a genuinely global basis and we are not dependent on supply from any specific country or region of the world.
In addition, Lockhart is part of Bunzl UK Limited, a £1.2 billion turnover company, and many of the products we sell are also stocked by other Bunzl UK sister companies. In fact the Bunzl Catering & Hospitality division (of which Lockhart is a part) holds the largest collective stocked range of catering and hospitality specific products in the UK. We have the ability to access products from other Bunzl UK companies on a daily basis and will make use of this facility as required to ensure that we maintain the highest possible levels of product availability.
Lockhart principally uses Parcelforce to deliver its products to customers. We are in constant contact with Parcelforce and can confirm than they also have robust contingency plans in place to ensure continuity of supply. This includes re-routing deliveries through alternative hubs if required.
In addition Lockhart also has access to wide range of other third-party carriers and courier companies and can therefore bring other providers on-stream very quickly should this become necessary. We also potentially have the option of making use of the delivery fleets operated by other Bunzl UK companies should the situation demand it.
We are therefore confident of our ability to keep delivering products to you under a wide range of scenarios.
Can I also reassure you that we are reviewing our contingency plans on virtually a daily basis and adjusting them accordingly based on the advice being given by the UK Government and Public Health England.
Being part of a much larger parent company, with many sister companies also working in the Catering & Hospitality sector, provides Lockhart with the ability to share and make use of a wide range of facilities and services and therefore offer our customers both a very high level of resilience and the ability to maintain very high levels of customer service over the coming weeks and months.
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