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Flexible working hours, redesigned factory floor-plan - Apple's plan to reinvent global supply chain

To address COVID-19-led challenges, Apple has introduced key changes in its global supply chain to ensure people are able to return to work safely

twitter-logo Nidhi Singal        Last Updated: May 15, 2020  | 18:55 IST
Flexible working hours, redesigned factory floor-plan - Apple's plan to reinvent global supply chain

The outbreak of coronavirus has impacted lives and businesses across the world. With the cure and vaccine nowhere in near sight, all companies are trying to revamp their business strategies. To address COVID-19-led challenges, Apple has introduced key changes in its global supply chain to ensure people are able to return to work safely.

"This pandemic has left no country untouched, and we want to thank all our suppliers around the world for their commitment, flexibility and care for their teams as we navigate COVID-19's complex and rapidly evolving impact. From the outset, we worked with our suppliers to develop and execute a plan that puts the health of people first. Thousands of Apple employees have worked tirelessly to execute that plan in partnership with our suppliers around the world," wrote Sabih Khan, Senior Vice President of Operations, Apple.

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Khan says, Apple has worked with suppliers around the world on a range of protections suited to the circumstances in each country, including health screenings, limiting density, and ensuring strict adherence to social distancing in their facilities. Requiring the use of personal protective equipment - both during work and in all common areas, Apple has worked together to implement enhanced deep cleaning protocols and deploy masks and sanitisers.

"Our teams have also partnered with suppliers to redesign and reconfigure factory floorplans where needed and to implement flexible working hours - including staggered work shifts - to maximise interpersonal space. We continue to work closely with leading medical and privacy experts to develop advanced health and safety protocols," adds Khan.

Apple's Supplier Code of Conduct prevents discrimination and harassment of any kind, and supplier employees are provided anonymous channels to speak up.  Apple claims to partner with its suppliers to create educational and training opportunities, including traditional college degree programs, vocational training initiatives, and health and wellness programs so their employees can learn new skills and work toward fulfilling their goals.

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"While COVID-19 has been an unprecedented challenge, we've also drawn hope and inspiration from humanity's renewed focus on the health of our colleagues, friends, and neighbors. That consciousness - of our health and the health of others - is something we can always carry with us," avers Khan.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, in March, Apple's committed donations to the global COVID-19 response reached $15 million worldwide. Apple also matched its employee donations in the ratio of two-to-one to support COVID-19 response efforts locally, nationally and internationally. Apple had closed all of its retail stores outside of Greater China earlier this year and moved to flexible work arrangements.

Instead of cancelling its annual Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple will conduct a virtual conference scheduled to start on June 22.

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