Diamond Comic Distributors, has issued an update on how they are working right now. The distributor, still the backbone of most of the direct market of comic book stores, closed in April because of the coronavirus global shutdown and only recently returned to something close to full distribution, and having to implement restrictions regarding social distancing and safety protocols for Diamond staff.
"To achieve effective social distancing in our distribution centers, we must operate at less than 100% staff," said Geppi Family Enterprises (GFE) Chief Logistics Officer Shawn Hamrick. "Our daily goal is 70% staffing. However, many days we are operating at 50% staff due to our strict self-quarantining policies and other factors. Inevitability, these reductions in staff cause delays in our ability to process orders on our standard timeline."
Diamond states that employees are surveyed before each shift and sent home if it's believed they pose any health risk to the rest of the team. And that if an employee shows COVID-19 symptoms, they must have a negative test result before returning to work. Which, for Diamond, means that skilled team members can be out for several days awaiting test results.
Diamond states that they have brought on a second employment agency to help with acquiring team members and have also invested in a Spanish-language version of the voice-picking software to, as they put it, "broaden the potential employee base."
Hamrick added, "We understand that it is frustrating when there are disruptions in routine, whether that is a delayed shipment or a mistake made in picking or packing. That causes additional work for you and us. We are continually working to address any issues quickly while caring for the health and safety of our team members."
Diamond also states that with reduced staff in Retailer Services as well, response wait times have increased. They state that this is being addressed but will take time to resolve. And that they are consistently looking for ways to improve response time and are focused on quickly hiring and training staff to use our new remote technology.
Diamond is encouraging retailers to use their new Support Center where they can check on open and resolved tickets, submit questions or log issues on a form that gathers the needed information. This system is designed to reduce the time it takes to address concerns – but is it? Do let us know how things are going.