May 5, 2003, 12:00 AM

SARS-quarantined Wal-Mart managers keep working on the web

Wal-Mart, while requesting merchandise buyers and other employees returning from SARS-infected China to quarantine themselves at home for 10 days, keeps them working through e-mail and web-based access to corporate information.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., while requesting merchandise buyers and other employees returning from SARS-infected China to quarantine themselves at home for 10 days, keeps them working through e-mail and web-based access to corporate information.

“We’ve asked anyone coming back from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan to stay at home for 10 days to assure they’re fine,” a spokesman says. But because many of them still need to stay in touch with foreign suppliers, they continue to communicate through e-mail and by connecting into web-based systems for checking product and order records. Wal-Mart has also increased its use of video-conferencing to compensate for employees in the U.S. who want to view products and make visual contact with suppliers, he adds.

So far, use of the alternate means of communication has not disrupted Wal-Mart’s supply lines, the spokesman says. “It hasn’t had an impact on us in terms of our ability to get products,” he says.

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