June 24, 2020
We are facing an extraordinary situation that has forced many companies, manufacturers and leaders to stop and think of alternative ways of working and being productive. In this new scenario, how has UL reacted?
While the COVID-19 pandemic has presented new and unprecedented challenges, UL has proven to be well-prepared and has responded from the very beginning with the best interests of our employees, customers and communities at the center of our decision-making and processes. As soon as the virus started to spread among our communities, we took steps to help ensure the health and well-being of our people. Being at our laboratories essential, they remained open for most of the time, with a limited number of employees shifting in order to work in a safer way, while the most part of our employees has been working from home. We have put into place modified working arrangements under guidance from public health officials to help keep our employees, customers and communities safe as we continued to deliver essential services. We have continued to meet customer needs by activating local and global business continuity plans, enabling us to move client engagements forward wherever possible while also maintaining a safe and healthy work environment.
In order to help businesses continue to operate under unparalleled circumstances, UL has offered new resources and services. Can you provide a concrete example of the way you modified your everyday approach in order to support your customers?
One of the first actions we took to meet the evolving needs of our customers was to use remote technology to support the UL Data Acceptance Program (DAP) and Client Test Facility (CTF) program. These programs provide a means to accept externally generated test data in support of many of our certifications, including the UL Mark. To be eligible for DAP, we require participating test facilities to have the appropriate requirements, equivalent to what would be used in our laboratories for the same testing to help ensure data consistency and quality. In order to allow greater flexibility for our customers, we have temporarily amended some of these requirements to allow the use of remote technology. By doing so, we help maintain the health and safety of everyone involved.
Is there a specific UL service or resource that can help appliance manufacturers?
In the past months, we have seen several organizations experiencing component supply issues. In order to help those companies to manage disruptions of this kind, we put in place a new process: Accelerated Alternate Component Process for Appliances. This new process starts with the use of the free UL Product iQ™ database of components to source alternate suppliers and components. Once the alternate component(s) has been identified, we can perform accelerated component performance equivalency testing to help ensure that the alternate component will perform as well as, or better than, the current component. Finally, our laboratories and experts will rapidly perform end-product evaluations using the alternate component and have it included in the product certification.
And finally, what will be UL’s new normal?
As you know, safety is the heart of our mission and drives every decision we make. That is why we put in place a gradual return-to-normal plan for our employees that is divided into different phases. We will move from one phase to the next only if the situation proves to be safe for everyone. As already said, the best interests of our employees, customers and communities are at the center of our decision-making and processes. Meanwhile, to those manufacturers who may need our support, I can say that we are ready to provide them exceptional support. From advisory services to remote witnessed testing and factory retooling, we are here to help ensure that producers can continue to operate under very challenging circumstances.
‘We are here to help ensure that customers can continue to operate under very challenging circumstances.’