As the impact of COVID-19 is increasingly felt in Australia and around the world, mivision spoke to product distributors about the current status of supply to customers in Australia and New Zealand, and whether the eye health profession should be concerned about potential supply issues.
As the COVID-19 situation evolves, we continue to review our plans for resiliency and viability and act as needed
While the situation is fluid, here are the responses to date, which will be added to as more information is received.
“AFT policy is to hold three months of safety stock and we ship by seafreight. Presently we do not anticipate or know of any stock shortages with our products. Our largest eye care product is manufactured by robots in Germany – which is reassuring given that robots don’t catch COVID-19.”
“The safety of Alcon associates is our highest priority. We are closely aligned with Centres for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Australian Department of Health guidelines as it relates to the coronavirus (COVID-19), and are updating our policies to ensure the welfare of our associates.
“Alcon has a diverse manufacturing footprint and business continuity plans in place. We do not anticipate any immediate impact to our operations, but continue to monitor this highly dynamic public health issue while focusing on taking care of our people, our customers and their patients.”
Additionally Alcon stated:
“We are communicating to all Alcon associates the latest COVID-19 related recommendations from CDC, WHO and the Australian Department of Health. This includes prohibiting all business travel to countries and regions classified under U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory Levels three and four, and restricting all non-critical business travel to all other countries and regions, while also empowering our associates to use their personal discretion as needed.
“We have proactively implemented measures that encourage social distancing. These include prohibiting internal meetings of more than 20 associates, restricting our associates to only attend business-critical external meetings, encouraging our team to strive to keep at least two metres distance between themselves and others at all times and making sure our team has flexible work options, where needed.”
“There’s no doubt that there will be a supply issue, unfortunately a lot of international brands see Australia and NZ as a secondary market to Europe, the US and greater Asia. I think the home grown companies that have landed stock need to be a focus for retailers. In regards to the resupply of our out of stock products, we hedged our bets with multiple factories and as our product line needs to be made in different parts of the world we have running and closed suppliers. Currently we have a frame factory in Daegu (Korea) which is closed, a frame factory in Valdoddiadene Italy which is closed, a frame factory in Cadore Italy, which is open and a Case Factory in China, which is also open however, only with 60% of workers.”
Bausch + Lomb
“All our manufacturing are unaffected and are operating as normal.”
“We take the risk of COVID-19 seriously. We would like to reassure our customers that our global pharmaceutical production and patient supply are not affected by the COVID-19 epidemic. We have been advised by our global supply network that we have sufficient inventory for such situations and our local supply is unaffected at this time.
“We will continue to carefully monitor the situation as it progresses.”
BOC Ophthalmic Instruments
“At this stage we don’t really know (whether we will experience supply issues). Our suppliers have not, as yet, notified us of any disruption to supply from their factories, however this can of course change as they may later use up their stock of components used in assembly. If fresh supply of components is unavailable this could disrupt supply of finished products.
“We have sufficient stock on hand and on order from our suppliers to meet customer orders for the time being, but shall not be ordering excess stock to guarantee supply, especially as the Australian dollar has recently depreciated significantly against currencies in countries from which we import.”
“At Bonastar, we are closely monitoring the Coronavirus developments. To ensure that we look after our customers, our staff, and the broader community during the uncertain times, we will be implementing precautionary measures, effective as of Monday 23 March 2020.
“We’ll divide our team into two groups. One group will work in the office doing dispatch and fitting, while the other group will work remotely to process online orders and provide online support. We are dedicated to ensuring we can operate as smoothly as possible during these challenging times. We encourage all our customers to place orders online and send in frames in hygienic conditions to minimise the risk to your business and our team members.
“Our laboratory networks remain fully operational. We are working hard to minimise the impact of this crisis on our customers, but there is also a possibility that we will encounter delays or disruptions in availability of stock and shipping. We’ll try to work through the best way of handling this unprecedented situation.”
“CooperVision has been carefully monitoring the outbreak of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). The safety of our employees, customers, partners and communities is our top priority while we also work to mitigate potential business impacts.
“Regarding supply, we do not source any materials from China, which is presenting the greatest supply chain challenge for many companies. To date, our supply chain has not been impacted. CooperVision has manufacturing, packaging and distribution sites in multiple locations around the world, with many products being manufactured and packaged in different facilities simultaneously. In addition, we are working closely with our logistics partners to ensure continuity of supply.
“Alternative providers are available in the event that an existing partner’s capability is compromised and we are working to boost inventory on our common lines to avoid out of stock situations. We have the infrastructure and business continuity plans to manage potential implications of this evolving situation, however there may be instances outside of our control, such as potential delays due to space constraints on commercial airlines.”
CooperVision also stated:
“We are not aware of any employees who have been directly affected and our teams are reviewing guidance from local and global health agencies regarding preventative practices and taking appropriate measures. This includes limiting non-essential business travel and substituting in-person meetings with videoconferences and phone calls where possible.
“As the COVID-19 situation evolves, we continue to review our plans for resiliency and viability and act as needed.”
Designs for Vision
“The situation is changing daily, however we are working closely with our suppliers to understand their manufacturing/supply capabilities and their lead times, and we are closely monitoring our inventory levels. At this point it’s business as usual.”
“Coronavirus remains a very serious global issue and the impact to product supplies is still very dynamic. As such, the extent of any supply implications is still evolving. Given the rapidly changing nature of these events and given that components of ophthalmic technologies are procured globally, it is feasible that there could be some downstream impacts to product supply. While we have not seen any immediate impact to supply of capital equipment, there have been changes in demand and consumption of hospital consumables. Device Technologies typically holds approximately 90 days of working inventory and we are managing the situation based on the latest information available and will do everything feasible to support our customers in Australia and New Zealand.”
“We have a robust supply chain with back-up sites with contingencies therefore so far are not expecting any shortage.”
“Samples of the MIDO 2020 William Morris and Charles Stone New York collections have just arrived… we have received a large shipment of generic brands including Maze, Capri, Hudson and Spinach, and the majority of models are now back in stock. Stock from Charmant, including Esprit, will arrive today and we expect all backorders to ship by the end of the week.
“We are still receiving regular regular deliveries from Caroline Abram and Lafont Paris, William Morris London, Mattisse USA, C-Zone Netherlands, CAT UK and OWP/Mexx. Should this change in the future, we will communicate this as soon as possible.”
“Hoya is pleased to confirm there are no issues with our global manufacturing network, and the supply of products to the Australian and New Zealand markets remain unaffected. There may be minor delays or shortages of some stock lenses, however we have plans in place to counter any of these issues.
“We are implementing our business continuity plan as we speak to ensure that our customers are affected as little as possible.
“We have learned from the past, and we have structured our business accordingly. Hoya has customer service and fitting teams in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth and Auckland. This creates an extremely robust network of infrastructure that customers can rely on should anything happen in any one location.
“This means we can redirect phone calls as well as fitting work from one location to another to ensure that our customers can continue to get their work, regardless of what is happening around them.
“We are here to support our customers.”
Johnson & Johnson Vision Care
“At Johnson & Johnson, our top priority remains caring for our customers, consumers and patients.
“As a global health leader, we have a longstanding commitment to fight epidemics. Even as the COVID-19 outbreak continues to evolve, we are mobilising resources to support global efforts in combating the coronavirus outbreak, including the development of a potential vaccine candidate for COVID-19.
“We have robust business continuity plans in place across our global supply chain network to prepare for unforeseen events and to meet the needs of the patients, customers and consumers who depend on our products. These steps include maintaining critical inventory at major distribution centres and working with external suppliers to support our preparedness plans. Our facilities will continue to work with the respective governments and in accordance with the regulations to supply critical products in the region and in Australia and New Zealand.
“We will remain at the forefront of this health crisis. We are closely monitoring product demand and supply levels across our global network to ensure adequate and effective distribution, and working diligently to meet patient, customer and consumer need.”
“All of Luxottica’s manufacturing sites are up and running. In China, following an efficient ramp up after the Chinese New Year, staff have resumed work at a good pace and the production flow is normalising. Thanks to the flexibility of our supply chain and our stock availability, Luxottica is confident to ensure the highest service level to its customers worldwide.
“In Italy, to facilitate the work of all employees based in the Milan office during this time, Luxottica has strengthened its smart working tool, allowing employees to work from home. The company issued a restriction on travel between the Italian offices of the company and other locations, inviting all employees to use digital tools instead, such as calls, video calls and collaboration tools. At the same time, Luxottica reduced travel to its clients’ offices and will take advantage of local showrooms and events in order to guarantee an effective presentation of the new collections, even through our digital tools.
“Overall, globally, where and when we can, we do leverage on flexible working to protect the health and safety of our people, and contribute to the authorities’ effort in fighting the contagion by lowering the number of people around.”
“Menicon Australia holds a minimum of six months’ supply of most product… and our lens care solutions and stock have a minimum two year expiry date. Our manufacturing sites are in various locations world-wide and there is no indication of production issues at this time.”
“ProOptics is maintaining a ‘business as usual’ approach but as you know things are changing quickly.
“We have well stocked shelves of Empire New York, Kore, M.A.Hunter and Random frames. If you need stock for consignment to fill gaps even if it’s short term please don’t hesitate to reach out. Our international Collections l.a.Eyeworks, FICTION and David Spencer are still being ordered weekly so until further notice there are no changes on delivery or availability.
“We are all dependent on each other and in times like this need to dig deep to pull out all the stops to help each other. Please let us know how we can best work with you to make this transition as easy as possible.”
“Rodenstock is in very close communication with our full supply chain and carriers. At present everything is working well. We have robust and stress tested supply chains. We have good contingencies in place should anything need to change both for manufacture and freight.
“We are monitoring the situation constantly, and are ready to adapt and make changes as required. To date we have had no adverse impact, if there are problems we believe we can quickly resolve them, and as such, we do not anticipate any impact to our customers.”
Safilo confirmed that their global operations are running smoothly and they have good stock holdings locally at their Sydney warehouse, with weekly deliveries from their global logistics team.
“Despite the challenging conditions, our manufacturing facilities in Asia are back up and running, and our Italian manufacturing and operations sites continue to function well.
Additionally, we have initiated upgrades to our local warehouse management systems and processes and increased our local stock holding across our core brands. We know that our service needs to be in line with your customers and patients expectations, therefore we are focusing efforts to ensure this is the case.”
“Shamir has a secure supply of raw materials, many of these are from Israel. Our laboratory, based in Brisbane, produces finished lenses right here in Australia and Shamir Australia will continue providing a competitive edge with the ongoing enhancement of our product ranges, technology and services. We understand that this is essential to ensure your practice has marked differences, vital in today’s competitive marketplace and the problems we are suffering with COVID-19 issues.
“Our customer service, technicians, administration, sales and management team are here to support all our customers through this crisis. Our laboratory has taken all precautions, with temperatures taken by all employees daily. Staff have access to hygiene masks, gloves, hand sanitiser and are advised to wash their hands regularly and thoroughly with a ‘practice good hygiene’ procedure’. We are constantly monitoring changes that may occur during this health crisis so that we are prepared to make any necessary protocols to limit disruption to orders and deliveries.
“Shamir Australia is now entering its sixth year as a certified Australian Made company, and we are proud to be providing highly regarded products and services, with fast turnaround time. Thank you to all customers supporting the Australian workforce, opting for Australian made to help keep the Australian economy strong.
“Wishing you and all your staff the very best of health as we combat this serious health issue together.”
“Continuity of supply is a primary focus area for Specsavers and there is currently no impact on this. Representatives from all areas of our supply chain function are working closely with our global supply partners on a daily basis to look at the short, medium, long-term planning horizons across all product categories to ensure we have contingency plans in place to maintain supply. We are confident we are taking every possible step to address the challenges we are facing and minimise any impacts on the service we provide to our customers.”
“We have taken all proactive precautions to protect the health of staff in our office, warehouse and field team, implementing extra hygiene practices, social distancing, rotation rosters and working from home.
“Our head office and warehouse is still functioning, providing full service to retail partners and optometrists for all requirements as per usual.”
“Our top priority is the health and safety of VSP Global Australia employees, as well as our customers, doctors, and partners. Like other organisations, we are closely assessing the impact of COVID-19 and have taken steps to protect our employees and the communities we serve.
“While it is too early to fully assess potential supply chain impacts, we are closely monitoring the situation and will communicate with our customers if impacts are identified.”
“Zeiss is committed to the health and wellbeing of our people, customers and communities. We value our relationship with our customers and we want to reassure everyone that we remain open for business.
“Together with our global supply chain team, we have undertaken significant risk assessments of our local and global business over the past eight weeks and have implemented a number of measures to keep our supply chain operational. These measures have been effective thus far. Contingency plans for a variety of scenarios have been developed and are ready to implement as necessary.
“If there are changes, e.g. limitations to raw material deliveries, border closings, restrictions to freight traffic, etc. which we cannot influence, we will inform customers about possible delivery delays immediately.
“Our commitment to customer service remains unchanged. Our people remain accessible and ready to assist you with any challenges that COVID-19 presents for you.”
Hygiene and Social Distancing
In line with the guidance provided by public health officials, the following basic hand and respiratory hygiene practices are recommended:
- Wash your hands frequently with an alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water,
- Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands,
- See a doctor when unwell, and
- Keep a distance from someone who is coughing or sneezing.