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Business, COVID-19, News

How distributors are dealing with the pandemic

Patterson, Covetrus and MWI have stepped up sanitary procedures and increased remote work as they continue delivering products to veterinary customers.

How distributors are dealing with the pandemic

Three of the largest veterinary product distributors say they are working to safeguard employee and customer health during the COVID-19 pandemic and are committed to fulfilling orders.

Kevin Pohlman, president of Patterson Companies’ animal health business unit, wrote in a letter that the distributor is conducting more frequent cleaning of sales offices, branch offices and fulfillment centers and limiting customer interactions with Patterson team members.

“To ensure we do our part in mitigating the risk of the spread of COVID-19, we have asked our customer-facing outside sales force to work remotely for the remainder of March,” Pohlman stated. “We are asking that customers not visit any sales offices, branch locations or fulfillment centers in person. However, our strong network of outside and inside sales personnel will be available to serve your needs remotely.”

A notice posted on the Patterson Veterinary website told customers, “We are experiencing slight delivery delays due to increased shipping demands.”

At Covetrus, workplace regulations and guidelines include “frequent washing of hands, daily disinfecting of workspaces and limiting non-essential travel.”

“As this outbreak continues to evolve, so will our response,” executive vice presidents Georgia Wraight and Mike Ellis wrote. “In recent days, we have taken additional actions to support business continuity, like transitioning some of our teams to remote work. We have also taken action, such as applying social distancing, in our distribution centers, pharmacies and with our support staff to enable continuity in product and service fulfillment.”

Mark Shaw, president of animal health at AmerisourceBergen, stated in a letter posted March 16 that office-based employees at the company’s MWI Animal Health subsidiary “have been, or are in the final stage of, being relocated to remote work. This includes all customer service and call center associates.”

“Our business continuity plans leverage our nationwide network of 13 distribution centers, seven pharmacies and six depots to ensure that we are well-positioned to support the needs of our customers,” Shaw added. “We have increased the frequency of our comprehensive cleaning and sanitation protocols, we have reduced access to our facilities to essential associates only, and we have tested our system to minimize order fulfillment disruption.”

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