ICN helping Australian business through COVID-19
With many Australian businesses facing financial downturn due to COVID-19 restrictions, ICN has mobilised to limit the economic effects of the pandemic on supply chains and local suppliers.
Executive Director Warren Jansen said ICN recognised how important a strong supply chain was to ensure Australian communities stayed strong through pandemic.
“We have been monitoring the COVID-19 situation very closely since it first hit our shores in late January,” Warren said.
“We believe it’s our responsibility to be on the front foot and deliver meaningful solutions for Australian businesses.”
In response to the outbreak, ICN developed a national COVID-19 portal on Gateway, as well as an application that helps business keep workers safe while complying with regulations.
ICN launched the portal in late March to “help businesses keep the supply chain wheels turning”.
“It not only supports the companies in our extended network, but it means communities can get services and products that they need,” Warren said.
“Suppliers can easily access information on which products and services are in short supply and which regions need them the most.
“For those companies that are struggling to get products and services to the people, this portal also gives you a connection to other suppliers.”
ICN industry advisers across the country and helping all levels of government identify suppliers with the capability and capacity to manufacture or supply PPE and other health-related equipment, this includes identifying businesses with transferable technologies that can pivot to service this need.
With more than 16,800 pageviews and 800 companies submitting expressions of interest, the COVID Portal is proving to be a welcome addition to Gateway.
“I think the current problems are exposing a lot of Australian manufacturers to market opportunities that might have otherwise not been obvious. People are searching for local suppliers for goods that may be hard to get,” Warren said.
Meanwhile, ICN developed the simple-to-use COVID-19 Response App in partnership with Ionyx and QMI Solutions. It is a valuable tool for any company that needs to interact with others to get the job done.
“All it would take is one worker or contractor with COVID-19 to enter your site and all your operations could potentially come to a grinding halt,” Warren said.
“Every staff member would need to be tested and isolated. Not to mention they could fall extremely ill, or worse.”
The app uses a simple screening questionnaire to protect your staff, visitors and contractors.
“The automated screening process allows for flags and alerts to be instantly sent back to a central web portal. This means management can isolate potentially infected people, minimising the risk of spread at job sites.
“It ensures that employees and clients can interact safely knowing everyone has undergone and passed their symptom checks for the day on site.”
It can also be used to screen people who come on site to deliver or supply of products and services.
“People want to know they are not walking into a site where there is potential to be exposed to COVID-19.”
Many businesses have been managing the risks manually, which can be slow, prone to inaccuracies and detrimental to productivity.
Using the app, workers, contractors and visitors receive simple daily health checks that take less than one minute to fill in.
These results are sent to a central dashboard that you can monitor. The app will also send SMS and email alerts is if a worker or visitor has potentially been exposed to the virus or is showing symptoms.
“That way you can control who has access to your site and protect all of your workers. And, if you have delivery drivers, tradesmen or others that need to go into other business or residences, you can use the app to screen the health and safety of the occupants before your staff enter,” said Warren.
“The app also has a built built-in mental health check so you can monitor how your staff are going in these challenging times.
“You can keep the wheels of your business turning while protecting your staff, visitors and contractors and mitigating the challenge that COVID-19 presents.”
Both the app and the portal are free to not-for-profits and small businesses with fewer than 50 employees.