A local business down the street from me has a large sign out front that says: “Nothing’s for sure that’s for sure…but we’re reopening August 15.” However, the date has been crossed out and underneath it states, “sometime this fall.”
As businesses begin reopening, there are undoubtedly mixed feelings including skepticism and cautious optimism. Uncertainty is a powerful thing.
Although there’s no playbook on dealing with a global pandemic in 2020, there are companies that have learned a thing or two since the government-mandated shutdowns. That’s because these companies never closed their doors.
Several fastener manufacturers and distributors, deemed essential, have remained operational despite the risks — and deserve full praise. Many have stepped up to the challenge, mass-producing parts to meet the demands for medical device components, such as for ventilators and hospital beds. Others have continued to supply critical components to the food, power, water, transportation, and other vital sectors.
We’ve been fortunate to connect with a few of the essential fastener businesses and two traits have stood out in these conversations: determination and resiliency. The companies that could stay open did stay open. These businesses were determined to help out. They were also resilient, which means they rearranged schedules, added cleaning crews, purchased personal protective equipment, and implemented the necessary measures to meet the CDC guidelines and more.
Now, these companies are in an ideal position to share the tips and knowledge gained during the past few months. Aside from the now-typical safety modifications, such as social distancing, below are a few of those tips.
1. Keep flexible.
- For Meridian Adhesives Group, a U.S.-based holding company for adhesive manufacturers, flexibility has meant having a contingency plan in place to address unexpected or unfortunate events. For example, they’re prepared for a temporary closure of their facilities without disruption — say, for environmental cleaning and disinfection — if this becomes necessary.
- For Southco, a global designer and manufacturer of access hardware, ensuring at least two suppliers are available for every process is important so they are never single-sourced or left without options for continued operation. “The planning ahead is what’s important here,” says the company.
2. Think ahead.
- Advance Components, an industrial fasteners master distributor, was fortunate. The company developed a risk-assessment plan last year, based on advice from a key customer. This meant forming a strategic plan to ensure operation and a secure supply chain in the case of an emergency. “We sort of foresaw this as planning for an accident…such as a storm, fire, fraud, or theft,” shared the company president. “We didn’t foresee a global viral pandemic wreak havoc on everything. But fortunately, the solutions we put in place helped us be very prepared.”
- For ZAGO, a global manufacturer of custom ceiling solutions and components, preparation was a couple of years in the making. The company gradually automated a lot of its equipment so that three or four machines can run be run by just one person. They also adopted an Enterprise resource planning or ERP system that allows their team to work from the Cloud, which they say is a must.
3. Stay positive.
- This is, perhaps, easier said than done during challenging times. But according to SPIROL, a global manufacturer of precision engineered components, it’s imperative: “We’ve been circulating success or feel-good stories every couple of days….it’s important employees know that while the world may be turned upside down right now, there are some great things that are happening every day, too!”
- Remember: how you treat others is always important. Be kind and be patient. This are unprecedented times. As ZAGO pointed out to us: “Teamwork is everything.”