Just a few short days ago, nobody could have conceived the level of disruption that we would have to endure in the way we work and live for the next several weeks. The rapidly changing COVID-19 challenge is accelerating our need to adjust and adapt to keep our health and businesses strong. KCAS is focused on living up to our mission, “KCAS provides reliable and defendable data, enabling our clients to improve health worldwide.”
We know our clients need KCAS to continue supporting their drug development programs and future life-saving drugs. Additionally, KCAS has been called upon to directly support the fight against COVID-19 by providing our expertise to those developing products to fight this virus. Because of our critical role in providing development services to the biotech and pharma industry, KCAS is considered a critical ongoing operation and is exempt from the current call for non-essential businesses to discontinue operations.
With the current challenges and those to come, we have established a communication and governance process with our leadership team that meets daily to assure we are connected on all fronts to serve our clients and assure our staff are protected and supported. In addition, we meet with our entire staff weekly to share all information, updates and outlook for the current situation to assure everyone has the most updated information.
Our priority is the safety of our staff, clients and our suppliers. To limit exposure, we have prohibited international and any unnecessary travel and asked most of our staff to work remotely. We have added redundancy in our IT infrastructure and supplied our employees with the resources they need to work from home efficiently. For our staff working at our facilities, we have instituted all parameters of social distancing, flex schedules, and adjusted schedules to reduce exposure. In addition, the facility is cleaned daily to disinfect areas of potential concern. Management’s focus has also been addressing potential supply chain interruptions and creating backup and alternative plans to address challenges.
To date, this transition has gone smoothly. Our laboratory and data production remain fully operational and our focus is heavily centered on addressing any foreseen supply chain disruptions and barriers that may be in our future.
KCAS is committed to seeing this through with our clients, thinking out of the box, developing creative solutions to do everything we can to get through this challenging time and not lose track that we are also supporting other life-saving products in development. We will continue to help you accomplish this objective during and after this crisis is over.
KCAS has assembled a cross-departmental team of individuals to address questions and concerns that arise as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This team represents every core function of the company responsible for ensuring the laboratory remains functioning in an efficient manner and is able to deliver quality data in a timely manner. They have compiled a list of “Frequently Asked Questions” specifically related to COVID-19 business continuation and KCAS’ recent classification as an Essential Business. Please take time to read these and contact me or any member of KCAS leadership team with your questions…
- Will KCAS be open during the call for non-essential businesses to discontinue operations?
Like many across the country, the Kansas City area has been ordered into “lock down” starting March 24th, but Because of our critical role in providing development services to the biotech and pharma industry, KCAS is considered a critical ongoing operation and is exempt from the current call for non-essential business to discontinue operations for the next 30 days.
Click here to see an official link to Johnson County KS memo on the mandate specifically notating Healthcare Operations including “pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies” as Essential Business. (see top of page 3)
- What is KCAS doing to ensure there is no impact to supply chain (materials to support projects)?
To ensure the continuity of our supply chain KCAS has taken a three-fold approach:
- KCAS has been, and will stay in communication with our vendors and suppliers to ensure supply and logistics are maintained
- KCAS has been working towards identifying back-up vendors and suppliers
- KCAS has been proactive in placing orders based on our forecast to ensure we have sufficient materials (consumables) to span the next 3 months.
As new information becomes available regarding the duration of the pandemic and the associated preventative measures taking place, the amount of supplies will be adjusted as determined by our internal COVID-19 response team.
- What is KCAS doing to ensure no delays due to staff shortage?
KCAS has been proactive in managing the COVID-19 outbreak, and our response team, and executive management, have put in place policies to help ensure we are able to meet deliverables and timelines, while maintaining a healthy workforce.
In accordance with the CDC recommended guidelines for social distancing and quarantine, we have taken the following steps:
- Reduce the number of potential person-to-person contact by encouraging those who are able to follow our remote work policy, do so, including non-laboratory and front office personnel.
- Start times of laboratory-based staff have been moved to split shifts, to reduce the number of people in the laboratory at any given time, allowing us to manage our social distancing policy for work in the laboratory.
The steps described above have been implemented to ensure the well-being of our employees and their families while also reducing the likelihood of a significant number of laboratory staff becoming ill at any one time. In the unlikely event there is a significant decrease in the total number of individuals able to perform the necessary laboratory tasks due to self-quarantine or illness, a company-wide priority list of projects has been assembled by the directors based on critical deliverables and timelines. This priority list in conjunction with our established inter- and intra-departmental cross-training initiatives, enables individuals to move into the appropriate roles to ensure timelines and deliverables are met.
Finally, as the pandemic continues, we will be able to leverage our relationships with local contracting agencies, if the need arises.
- Are there any concerns on equipment delays due to COVID-19 (having equipment fixed for example).
We do not have any concerns regarding equipment repair or maintenance at this time. KCAS has ensured redundancy in instrumentation for >90% of our equipment and conducts many of the routine calibrations and preventative maintenance with our internal metrology department. Availability of service is being continuously monitored as well as due dates for scheduled PMs to ensure there is minimal delay in getting repairs and/or maintenance completed.
We know our clients need KCAS to continue supporting their drug development programs and future life-saving drugs. Additionally, KCAS has been called upon to directly support the fight against COVID-19 by providing our expertise to those developing products to fight this virus.
Over the next few weeks, KCAS management will be arranging weekly communication to assure our entire organization stays connected, shares all available information, answers anticipated questions and continues setting a path forward to be as successful as we can possibly be on all fronts – health, future and well-being. We will constantly be evaluating how to adjust to whatever comes our way. We are going to be challenged, but if we work together, keep it all in perspective, we have the best chance of coming through this situation well.
To reiterate the message delivered by our Vice President of Operations last week:
- KCAS has a complete and thorough corporate COVID-19 plan in place
- KCAS has the capacity available to take on projects at a short notice
- KCAS has a well-developed, tried-and-tested cross training program, developed by over 40 years of industry experience
If you have any questions, please use the form below. Additionally, you can reach out to me directly, or any other member of KCAS’ leadership team. Thank you.