ASTRA’s global activities and initiatives during the COVID-19 outbreak

ASTRA Supply Chain Services Limited logo with clothing samples

To tide over the difficulties of an unprecedented situation, ASTRA Supply Chain Services Limited has launched a series of initiatives to help OI supply chains navigate the COVID-19 crisis. Wherever possible, ASTRA has made sure suppliers and factories continued to work responsibly.

All ASTRA teams have worked hard throughout the crisis to keep OI factories and suppliers in the know with the rapidly developing situation. The Vietnam team has consistently informed suppliers of new government regulations and the Bangladesh team recommended factories train their workers and make them aware of the coronavirus early on.

Teams in both Thailand and Turkey began by circulating government agency pamphlets concerning spread prevention, as well as developing their own content. The Thailand team created and shared management procedures, and Turkey distributing their own 11 detailed “Ways to Prevent New Coronavirus” that was used on factory floors.

Poster from the Turkish General Directorate of Occupational Health (ISGGMD) and Safety distributed by ASTRA Turkey. Credits ISGGMD.

The China team hosted several online webinars over the crisis, with a total of 90 factory representatives participating. In these webinars the team explained the content of various relevant government policies and how to properly apply them.

More recently, the Turkey team developed a questionnaire that concerned workers’ wages and hours. The Bangladesh team circulated their own questionnaire to all 87 factories they work with. On the whole, they learned that factories have instituted several regular mandatory hygiene measures but maintaining six feet of distance between employees was difficult given the factories’ layout.

Factory workers in Bangladesh having their temperature checked
Factories in Bangladesh have instituted hygiene measures. Credit ASTRA Bangladesh.

Given the social distancing measures established globally, the in-person aspect of ASTRA’s work has been difficult to keep up. However, ASTRA teams have been implementing digital solutions whenever they could.

In recent months the China team has actively developed online training for other services they offer, such as for quality audits. This has grown the team’s experience in online services, but also effectively helped more suppliers who are in need of support but are currently difficult to reach.

ASTRA China team member presenting online webinar
Working online at ASTRA’s China office. Credit ASTRA China

Similarly, the Thailand team has successfully used online tools to provide relevant quality and social compliance training to a Chinese vendor they work with who has a factory in Cambodia.

All of the teams have adjusted to their “new normal,” and have been touching base remotely with the factories they work with either over the phone or through digital means.

The teams at ASTRA trust that if we can master the challenges that lie ahead together, we will overcome this crisis.

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