PPL has been around for quite a while, we have hung on during numerous rollercoaster rides and we intend to hang on during this one too. The speed and ferocity of this COVID-19 ride is unpleasant, and we know that it will be tricky to keep all onboard. However, we are going to try our best to do just that.
Part of PPL’s contribution to the National Effort will be to provide frontline staff (as best as we can, and for as long as we can) with the supplies and services you need to keep your “show on the road”. We aim to communicate with you weekly to update you with our situation throughout this crisis.
Like you, I am a medical practitioner, I understand the risks of COVID-19 and therefore two weeks ago whilst giving another Health & Safety update on COVID-19 to the PPL team, it was evident to me that we needed to close our business immediately. We had 30 employees in our space which we felt was unsafe, for even one more day.
During the week of temporary closure, we organised ourselves into a smaller team of 10 key employees to facilitate continuity of supply. Where possible, we worked totally remotely, however some of us were required to partially attend the PPL workplace. Whilst in our workplace, we are confident that our small team are following our revised Health & Safety Policy, which is in-line with the current HSE and Government advice on social distancing, hygiene and safe work practices.
We have contacted HSE Procurement and other relevant bodies seeking advice in terms of what they wish medical device companies (such as PPL) to do, as well as of course offering our full support in any way. From the information we have to date, and following conversation with several of you on the ground in the HSE expressing a need for supply, we have used our common sense and re-opened the business safely. We will continue to comply with all the HSE and government’s advice, as they continue to update us.
We have now resumed operating with a skeleton staff and are running limited services currently as follows:
- HSE orders will be prioritised
- Please email orders where possible to firstname.lastname@example.org. We are treating all orders sent to us via post or courier as contaminated, so these orders will take longer for us to process.
- We are still taking phone calls. However, in the event that we are unable to answer, please leave a voicemail and we will get back to you in due course.
- Please do not send Returns or Alterations to us until further notice. Returns and Alterations are also categorised as contaminated waste and we are not currently able to process these until further notice.
- We will dispatch just 2 days per week. This will allow our team to spend the minimum amount of time in our workplace.
- Standard Delivery Times are not guaranteed. We have already been in communication with most customers with orders pending, and we are working through the remaining backlog. We hope to be in a better position next week and be able to give better timelines in the coming days.
- Plans for delivery direct to patients are being made. We understand this is a service we may need to implement on a wide scale. This is a complicated process as courier services are also reduced, and signatures upon delivery are not being taken. PPL must secure payment for our goods to stand any chance of long-term survival. We are working on this and hope to have something in place in the coming days.
- Collection of orders from PPL premises, and dropping-off orders to PPL premises are not permitted until further notice.
- We are holding high levels of Stock Products. Due to Brexit we are holding higher than normal levels of all our stock products and materials for manufacture. We do not see COVID-19 posing us with any supply chain issues for the product lines we carry for the foreseeable future.
- Our Manufacturing Capacity is being reviewed. Our staff are highly skilled and there are many complex processes involved in manufacturing. We are manufacturing this week, we anticipate we will with the current team be capable of supplying Prescription Insoles, Carbonflex Devices and CADCAM (both Total Contact and ¾ CAD devices), but delivery times will be compromised.
Some of you will have taken difficult decisions recently in terms of your businesses and staff. PPL has unfortunately had similar experiences before, it took a while, but we did bring our team back to work in time, and we will work continually on our ever-changing business continuation plan.
As a final note, many of you have attended our training courses down through the years. You may recall our advice regarding a holistic approach to managing and providing the best care we can for our patients, by gathering as many “tools in our toolkit” as we can (rehab, orthotic prescription, common sense, evidence and knowledge). Presently, we are all working through this crisis, using tools we didn’t even know we had, gaining great respect for things we previously dismissed, staying as positive as we can, and just trying to do the best we can for all.
The Irish people have a history of sticking together and remaining resilient through difficult times. We are certain that this will be another example of such, and we will all persevere by helping each other. None of us are enjoying this rollercoaster ride, but we must laugh when we get the chance to ensure we “mind our heads” and hang on tight!
If there is anything, we can assist you with in the coming weeks, please feel free to give us a call or email and we will do our upmost to help in whatever way we can.