Kroger launches 'blueprint' for reopening businesses while Covid-19 risk persists
Kroger, the U.S.'s second-largest grocer, on Tuesday published the first installment of its 'blueprint' for businesses to consider as they start crafting plans for safe work environments while the Covid-19 risk persists.
The model, called Sharing What We've Learned: A Blueprint for Businesses is aimed at providing actionable recommendations for retailers, restaurants and food service companies, manufacturers, logistics and distribution centers and other industries.
"With nearly 2,800 grocery stores, 35 manufacturing plants, 44 distribution centers and 460,000 associates across the country, Kroger has learned and continues to learn a lot while keeping our stores and supply chain open and serving America during the pandemic," said Rodney McMullen, Kroger's chairman and CEO.
"As an essential business, we have led with our Purpose: to Feed the Human Spirit and have taken extensive measures across our footprint to safeguard our associates, customers and supply chain.
"We are sharing what we've learned to help businesses begin to reopen safely and in sync with their respective state plans."
Kroger's model includes actionable recommendations and learnings that the company has applied in the last six weeks to safeguard its associates, customers, and communities, as well as what it has learned through regular interaction with business leaders in other countries, including Italy, Singapore and China – all of which were ahead of the U.S. in terms of the pandemic cycling through their countries.
Many recommendations can be adapted for any industry sector, and the blueprint provides a set of distinct, deliberate processes for several key sectors, including retail, manufacturing, distribution centers/supply chain, food service/restaurants, and office environments.
Late last week, several U.S. Governors and business organizations asked Kroger to help their state's businesses to reopen safely. Kroger said it developed this new platform – KrogerBlueprint.com – in 36 hours to begin providing immediate assistance to states and businesses with plans to update with new learnings in real-time.
"We decided from the onset of this crisis that transparency, agility and responsiveness would be our guiding principles, and we are now sharing what we've learned as an extension of our values," said McMullen.
"It's critical for businesses to let their values guide their actions and to develop protocols and procedures in advance of reentering the marketplace to safely reopen, protecting customers and employees and flattening the curve," said McMullen.
"We recognize that not all businesses are the same. What worked for us may not work for some companies. And while there is no "one thing" that makes all the difference, taking a comprehensive, thoughtful approach to safety will lead to better outcomes."
Elements of Kroger's blueprint are available now for the retail sector on KrogerBlueprint.com, including a 17-page PDF and downloadable creative assets including in-store signs and audio files. Kroger will continue to update the blueprint in the coming days and weeks, providing additional recommendations, insights, best practices, tools and templates for other industries to leverage.
"We share our learnings with the same spirit that many business leaders from around the world have generously shared their experiences with our company, which helped us anticipate the steps we needed to take to provide a safe environment for our associates and customers," said McMullen.
"We know that we don't, and we won't, have all the answers – no one business or organization will. It will take all of us sharing openly the ingenuity that has always been the heart of American free enterprise to get through this, together, allowing America to come out stronger."