What you need to know about how Johnson & Johnson’s supply chain is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic
The company’s Chief Global Supply Chain Officer shares the measures the company has taken to maintain its supply chain operations during the current novel coronavirus outbreak.
As the world rapidly learns to adapt to an ever-changing landscape, Johnson & Johnson’s supply chain, which produces everything from contact lenses to prescription medications to fever reducers, is currently holding steady and meeting patient needs.
Thanks to dedicated employees around the globe and robust business continuity plans, Johnson & Johnson is able to deliver for the one billion customers and patients who rely on its products during this unprecedented time.
Kathy Wengel, Executive Vice President & Chief Global Supply Chain Officer, Johnson & Johnson, shares the steps the company is taking to ensure its supply chain stays strong.
The COVID-19 outbreak is impacting supply chains around the world. Has Johnson & Johnson been affected by any supply chain disruption?
COVID-19 is a very dynamic situation, but thanks to the hard work and dedication of our supply chain teams around the world, as of today we have sufficient inventory for patient needs and are working diligently to minimize impact.
We are also monitoring closely both our supply levels and product demand in order to ensure adequate and effective distribution of our products and services.
What steps is the company’s supply chain taking during this COVID-19 pandemic?
Most critical is having 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 key inventory at major distribution centers away from high-risk areas and working with external suppliers to support our preparedness plans.
Is the company ramping up production of any critical supplies or products at this time?
Yes, we are taking all possible measures to maximize product availability across our over-the-counter medicine portfolio, including Tylenol®.
The medication is trusted by consumers to reduce fever, and we are shipping our stock in a controlled manner so that we can reach as many people as possible during this public health emergency. Our manufacturing sites have increased production and are running 24/7 to maximize availability.
How have similar crises in the past helped prepare the Johnson & Johnson supply chain for COVID-19?
Unfortunately, this is not the first time we have needed to mobilize quickly in response to a crisis. It’s part of our 134-year heritage to step forward to help where we can.
For example, when Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico in 2017, our company quickly resumed full operations of our supply chain facilities on the island. We also leveraged our global manufacturing network, activating backup production sites and supply channels to help meet demand. When Ebola struck West Africa in 2014, we activated to support research & development and then the scale-up of a new vaccine.
While today’s situation is different from those two, many of the challenges we face are similar, and we already see how the value of learnings from those previous challenges are making us stronger this time. We’ll also learn from COVID-19 and apply those lessons to future outbreaks or natural disasters.
A billion patients, customers and consumers around the world trust our products and expect them to be of the highest standards of quality, safety and reliability.
How is Johnson & Johnson looking out for its supply chain employees during this outbreak?
The safety and well-being of our employees is always a top priority. As we have done in the past, we will continue to take necessary precautions to ensure a safe and healthy work environment for all of our employees around the world.
We have taken several steps to ensure our facilities worldwide remain safe and healthy environments. We’ve implemented enhanced cleaning procedures, such as increased cleaning of hard surfaces in common areas. We have also eliminated self-service buffets in our cafeterias, increased the number of hand sanitizer stations, and reduced the number of chairs in conference rooms to support social distancing.
In addition, we have put in place important guidance around travel that is designed to enable our employees to support critical customer needs, while stopping travel that isn’t truly necessary. Other protocols keep anyone exhibiting flu-like symptoms, or those who have traveled to high-risk areas, from entering our facilities.
These important steps will help us meet our obligation to support the health and wellness of our employees around the world, so that we remain in a position to produce our products and services for the patients and customers who need them.
Johnson & Johnson is committed to quality and safety as a top priority. In a situation like this, how does the company’s supply chain ensure that commitment does not waver?
A billion patients, customers and consumers around the world trust our products and expect them to be of the highest standards of quality, safety and reliability. Our Credo-based commitment to quality and safety is the foundation of everything we do across our entire corporation—and is unwavering no matter the challenges.
Our teams around the world bring this objective to life every day, adhering to our quality standards and policies, continuously improving our processes and enhancing their own skills through training and education. Every employee is responsible for upholding quality standards, and in situations like the one we face today, it’s even more important that everything we do must be of high quality.
I’m confident we can deliver on this commitment because we have some of the most talented, committed and dedicated people in the healthcare industry. In fact, as of today, all of our manufacturing and distribution sites around the world remain open, with tight controls, support and monitoring, based on their commitment to ensure we provide safe, high-quality products and services to the patients, doctors, nurses and others who need them.