How has the COVID-19 Pandademic affected the food supply chain and how have you been mobilising resources to ensure your customers are least impacted?
We reached out primarily to valued suppliers, distribution partners and supply chain stakeholders for their support during this crisis from the onset. This is because we are fully aware of the challenging economic times that the Irish people are facing at the moment due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are holding online meetings with key entities almost every day to assess the progress and I am happy to report that the support and goodwill towards this initiative have so far been very encouraging. Additional we have launched a Click & Collect website to comply with HSE guidelines on Social Distancing. The first orders went out earlier last week and the feedback has been excellent, we hope that this initiative will help our most vulnerable customers and also play an important part in the coming few months as we continue to deploy additional resources towards our online channel in these uncertain times.
Eurasia has dramatically escalated its response against COVID-19 having stepped up sensitisation around social distancing, implemented new measures in stores and even launched the Click & Collect initiative. How is the feedback from our customers?
Yes, the new measures set out by HSE and other government institutions are an excellent idea; it is exactly why we have gone beyond the basic requirements and taken additional measures to ensure the health and well-being of our staff as well as our customers. Our business is involved in the provision of food and other essential needs, and especially at a time like these our priority has been to ensure continuity of supply in line with government directives. Feedback from our customers has been positive and encouraging, though we did have some internet trolls trying to post misleading information about our store, which on a personal level was quite hurtful as we are just a small business trying to serve our customers in the best of our abilities.
Some of the ethnic food items that we supply are very specific for the diverse communities in Ireland and imported from producer countries, the lockdowns did impact our supply chain initially and placed a burden on the fragile supply chain but our team and partners have worked together to ensure our customers have access to essential food items like rice, flour, grains, lentils, ethnic fruits and vegetables.
What about the enormous impact that these measures will have on your business?
Our business has been impacted, we are set to suffer more and for a more protracted period as new COVID-19 surcharges are coming in place though all our logistics partners, airlines are increasing freight rates due limited air space, producers are not able to manufacture enough volume, leaving our business to bear higher costs. We anticipate that it with take at least six months or so for the business functions to come back to normal given our escalated response.
What we need to do now is encourage suppliers to give us better terms and support from our customers so that we can play our part in helping to ensure this pandemic is contained.
In order to protect the vulnerable customers, who live in urban areas with access to transport, you are offering a click and collect service for food and other essentials for collection from your main store in Lucan. How does this work?
We have been engaging our digital partners to ensure our online store is running smoothing and available for all, and at all times. Our customers can simply go online to our website, browse and select the items they wish to buy, add them to the cart and checkout – the process is as simple as shopping instore but from the comfort of your home. Once orders are placed our customers get updates on their collections and can also track their orders through the online store. All notifications are sent by email and once the order is ready for pick up the customer drives to our main car pack where a staff member brings out their grocery order. At present we are limiting collections to two days a week but this will be increased with time. We are dedicating additional resources to enhance the offering on our online store. Fresh Fruit and Vegetables will also be available very soon!
There is no doubt that a lot of companies have been hard hit by the slow down attributed to this pandemic. But your company, Eurasia, has been working with charitable organizations to provide foods and relief to the less fortunate. Tell us more about that.
Well, I have said this before, and I will say it again. We will pledge all our resources if the need arises in order to help Ireland fight COVID-19. Just like many other businesses in Ireland, we have been impacted heavily by the disruptions in the supply chain, and at a time like this the less fortunate are easily forgotten, our business is founded on the values of humanity and equality, the organizations were working with providing meals to HSE staff and the Homeless. The store also has a donation box where you can buy and leave essentials for donation. Our customers can also place an order online for a donation which will be delivered directly to the charitable organization.
Finally, what is your message to our readers during these uncertain times?
Don’t panic and Don’t Panic BUY! A big percentage of those who get infected by this virus survive. But this doesn’t mean that you take the preventive measures lightly. Please stay vigilant, maintain social distance, don’t go out if not necessary, wear your mask and stay safe.
And please be considerate about what you need, I want to ensure all our listeners that we will be managing our stocks to ensure that everyone has access to the essentials.