In an ongoing interview series, the leaders of Nielsen’s global field teams provide insights and observations on what they’re witnessing as they conduct their store audit work under the difficult conditions the COVID-19 outbreak has created.
Fernicco Kusumo is Input Operations Delivery Leader in Indonesia
The complexity of a country made up of over 6,000 inhabited islands with a population of more than 265 million people can never be underestimated. But for Nielsen’s retail data acquisition teams in Indonesia, the COVID-19 outbreak has been something they have tackled head on.
Kusumo said Indonesians were able to observe harder-hit countries in Asia, particularly China and South Korea, and gain some early lessons. “We were prepared and already wearing face masks as the first signs of it arrived in Indonesia.” Kusumo said. To date, Indonesia has confirmed just over 115 cases of COVID-19.
He said the early rushes to buy instant noodles and health supplies were expected, but retailers quickly re-stocked the products that ran out, and he has not observed major out-of-stock situations since the early round of bulk buying.
Kusumo said the field teams have not lost any time, and are still operating at 100% in terms of covering stores, but they are taking extra care. Masks and hand sanitizer is being provided to the teams and temperature checks are being conducted on staff at Nielsen offices to ensure all risks are mitigated.
When we spoke to Kusumo, there were far fewer cases (approximately 30) and he expressed worries that the relatively small number of cases diagnosed in Indonesia would not last. “I worry this could be the tip of the iceberg and we will get more cases if people are too complacent,” he said.
He said the archipelago nature of the country created natural isolation points because Indonesia is a nation of islands, but stressed that internal travel still continued unabated, despite controls being placed on international airports and many international travelers.