With the epicenter of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak shifting from China to the West, I wanted to provide an update on how Philips is responding to the constantly evolving situation. The WHO has classified the outbreak as a pandemic, but continues to reiterate that it is still controllable. While I am very concerned about the situation, provided the world mobilizes and collaborates appropriately, we share the view of the WHO.
I cannot stress enough that this is a top priority for all of us at Philips. We have mobilized our global resources to fulfill Philips’ triple duty of care: continuing to fulfill critical customer needs, ensuring the health and safety of our employees, and ensuring business continuity.
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Philips has set up a central global task force and regional task forces that are actively monitoring and supporting Philips’ operations on a daily basis, and working with customers to help ensure continued safe and timely support to meet their needs, fully in accordance with health authority recommendations. In addition to implementing stringent measures and protocols to ensure that our field service engineers can support customers in a safe way, we are working vigilantly to provide healthcare providers with updated clinical guidance relating to the use of our professional healthcare products and solutions.
Measures to keep our employees safe
Philips has implemented personal hygiene measures throughout the organization, together with business travel restrictions to and from high-risk areas. Moreover, we have implemented a global ‘working from home’ protocol for all employees whose roles can be carried out remotely and who are equipped to do so. This measure will also help to maintain a safe working environment for colleagues who are carrying out business-critical activities and need to be at a Philips location to do so. Such activities include production, supply chain, and certain R&D activities.
Philips maintains a Business Continuity Management System, which is aligned to, and certified against, the international standard for Business Continuity ISO 22301:2012. We are constantly reviewing precautionary measures based on WHO and national authority guidelines.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Philips has been able to continue its business operations around the world. As expected, we are seeing decreased demand for our consumer product portfolio in the most affected regions, and increased demand for our professional healthcare portfolio.