Grocery giant Kroger has announced it has created a Blueprint for Businesses based on what it has learned and applied over the last six weeks during the Coronavirus outbreak. The report includes actionable recommendations to help its employees and customers, but other businesses that are crafting plans to reopen but need to ensure a safe environment. Kroger's blueprint is not only for other grocers, as it has multiple processes for different industries, such as Retail, Manufacturing, Distribution Centers/Supply Chain, Food Service/Restaurants, and office environments.
"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. 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," Rodney McMullen, Kroger's chairman and CEO, said in a Progressive Grocer article. "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 this blueprint are currently available for the retail area on KrogerBlueprint.com, along with a 17-page PDF and downloadable creative assets. The company has said it will continue upgrading this blueprint in the coming weeks to add multiple areas for other industries to follow.
"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," McMullen said. "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."
The grocery brand has also partnered with United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) to enact a temporary official "first responder" designation of grocery workers, which would help workers get access to low-stock personal protective equipment.
"Given the significant daily risk these workers face, we are calling on all of our federal and state leaders to take immediate action," McMullen said in a joint statement with UFCW President Marc Perrone. "Make no mistake, this designation is absolutely critical as it will ensure these front-line workers have priority access to personal protection equipment like masks and gloves."
Kroger also started free drive-thru COVID-19 testing last week in Kentucky. The brand, working with Microsoft, will have a digital registration process for individuals to schedule a test. These drive-thrus expect to test about 250 vehicles a day.