SK Food Group’s Response to COVID-19

hand assembling food

It’s been a tough few weeks.

Like businesses everywhere, SK Food Group is coming to grips with the reality of coronavirus, or COVID-19, and working hard to respond to a serious and rapidly changing situation that is touching all our lives.
The team we set up early on to lead our response to COVID-19 has quickly put protocols and practices in place to keep our associates healthy and our facilities safe. So far, production has not been affected. We are still running full production lines at all our facilities, and working as fast as possible to keep inventory high and meet customer demand. But we know things are changing quickly, and we are giving our full attention to preparing for all possibilities.

 

How are we responding to COVID-19?

When cases of COVID-19 first started to appear in Seattle, we limited all but essential travel, educated our employees about the virus, restricted who could enter our facilities, and heightened our already rigorous sanitation practices. As the number of cases picked up and spread to other regions, we introduced even stricter rules and practices in line with state guidelines, our cGMP regulations, and information from the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

 

These are the steps we have taken so far to minimize the impacts of COVID-19:

woman cleaning surfaces1. Handwashing and proper sanitation. This is vital to preventing the spread of COVID-19. We have always followed strict sanitation practices, and protective gloves, face masks, smocks, boots, and eyewear are standard issue for our employees. No one enters or exits the production floor without stopping at a handwashing station to clean and sanitize their hands, but now, quality assurance techs actively monitor these sanitation stations and employees must sanitize their gloves as well as their hands. We have expanded our sanitation schedule to include multiple daily cleanings in breakrooms, bathrooms, lobbies, meeting rooms, and offices. We have also started sanitizing our delivery trucks and drivers’ lounges.

2. Keeping some distance. This is another important prevention measure, and we are staggering breaks and clock-in times to ensure not too many people gather in one place at the same time. Employees who can work from home are free to do so, but our Seattle office remains open and most staff are coming in. Anyone with paid time off is free to use it, and associates who do not feel comfortable coming to work during the COVID-19 outbreak can choose to stay home without any negative consequences.

3. Monitoring our health and protecting vulnerable people. Before our associates clock in, quality assurance techs monitor them for any sign of illness, including the cold and flu, which can make people more vulnerable to contracting COVID-19. We have also put strict visitor protocols in place across the entire company — no one can come in unless they have business with us, and they are screened for symptoms before they can enter.

4. Providing accurate information. Having accurate, up-to-date information is key to understanding COVID-19 and how to protect against it. We have put up posters from the CDC with information about the virus, the symptoms, and how to respond. These posters have been translated into the different languages of our employees, and we also have multilingual signs, information, and training on proper sanitation and hygiene.

5. Communicating with our customers, suppliers, and associates. Our crisis management team meets multiple times a day, and we are in close communication with our customers and suppliers, learning what steps they are taking to respond to COVID-19 and keeping them informed of our efforts. We also have quality assurance techs who speak with associates on our production lines, answering their questions and ensuring they are complying with good manufacturing practices.

 

What’s next?

Although we don’t know how long COVID-19 will last or how serious it will get, we know we will come through it as a stronger company if we stick to our core values:
  • caring
  • doing the right thing
  • delivering as promised, and
  • doing whatever it takes.
Food safety guides everything we do, and the men and women who make up the SK Food Group team are the heart of our company. Our first priority is to keep them and our customers safe and healthy.
“Workers have been very receptive to increased scrutiny, extra cleaning, extra sanitation, and knowing that we care about them and want them to stay well.” – Dustin Dixon, Senior Vice President of Quality Assurance, Purchasing and R&D

Questions about SK Food Group’s COVID-19 response?
If you are an associate, contact your local Human Resources representative. If you are a customer, contact:
Jakob Loseke
VP of Supply Chain
(775) 284-2038 ext. 2113
Jakob.Loseke@skfoodgroup.com

Ken Lahey
SVP of Sales
(952) 240-1085
ken.lahey@skfoodgroup.com

or

Steve Booker
President & CEO
(949) 278-0984
steve.booker@skfoodgroup.com


We’ll be posting more articles on our COVID-19 response in the weeks ahead. Check our newsroom for updates on how we’re navigating this extraordinary challenge.