In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, like most of you, I am receiving an overwhelming number of emails from vendors, suppliers, stores, and even some websites where I may have purchased something...one time. They all explain how they have safety plans in place with risk mitigation strategies to assure me of their continued operation.
While this article is also a response, it is more about why the team at SEKISUI KYDEX is prepared to keep our customers moving forward while keeping the safety of our employees as our top priority.
Early in my career, I remember walking into my boss’s corner office and sharing, “I think e-mail is going to be the next step for our business. It’s going to help us be more responsive to our customers!” He leans back in his brown-leather high-backed chair with the brass tacks, puts down his yellow legal pad, peers over his bi-focal glasses and says, “Ronn, we just purchased plain-paper fax machines. I don’t think e-mail is going to take off.” I was disappointed.
And I promised myself to not become that person.
Fast forward to 2016. Now, I am “the boss” in the corner office. One day, our Executive Assistant says, “We really depend on email around here. Can we use something like Slack? It will make us nimble and more collaborative!” I lean back in my Herman Miller chair, put down my i-pad, peer over my transition-lenses and reply, “Hmmm. We just got an upgrade to Office 365. I’m not sure collaboration software makes people more productive.”
As the words tumbled out of my mouth, I flashed back to the moment when I promised to not be the person I just became.
That event shifted my thinking, which allowed me to embrace a new way of working. Our teams moved forward with new technology initiatives. The focus was on creating a collaborative working environment designed for the next generation of employees.
We have implemented the Microsoft 365 Suite including cloud-based storage with a secure back up system, Microsoft Teams for virtual collaboration and video conferencing, company-issued laptops and mobile devices, Cisco softphones, and mobile access to our manufacturing systems from all devices. We have an IT support line in place and our IT team keeps these resources available at full functionality. So, even though some of our team might be working surrounded by their pets, rocking blue clothing for the first time in years (see our blue dot tech brief here), or becoming comfortable with video conferencing from their homes, our team is ready and available to support our customers without missing a beat.
This isn’t new for us. It’s part of our plan.
Our KYDEX® manufacturing lines? Production at all three campuses is up and running full speed, 24/7. Asking our office staff to work from home to minimize possible exposure is one of the extra measures we are taking to ensure our manufacturing teams are healthy, fed, rested, and engaged.
Through automation technology, our production lines are perfectly designed for social distancing with three people responsible for each line. They are each positioned in a way that keeps them 6 feet (2 meters) apart, but close enough to communicate on quality requirements, transition, and the other skills required for our Quick Response Manufacturing process. We have local restaurants providing hot meals to our teams to keep them energized while working. We have put extra measures in place to ensure our staff do not have to worry about personal time off, pay, or job security should they need time as a result of COVID-19. Should we need to call in reinforcements, we have staff cross trained through our KYDEX® trainingDojo.
Also, office staff who started on the manufacturing floor are willing to go back to production to ensure we keep our commitment to our customers.
The grit and determination of our staff, especially during difficult times, has always been impressive. Our teams continue to keep our production lines running and uninterrupted, so all orders deliver on time.
We are following the COVID-19 pandemic with diligence, sourcing our information from reputable agencies such as the CDC, WHO, and our federal and state governments. We have implemented precautionary actions, such as six-feet-apart work environments, digital meetings, additional cleaning schedules, a no handshake policy, and more. Our top priority is the health and safety of our employees followed very closely by our customers and orders.
This dedicated team will continue providing KYDEX® and ALLEN® products with the quality and speed our customers depend on.
If a more “corporate” document on our specific response plans to the COVID-19 pandemic is required, we have that available on our website, here. It’s much like all the others.
However, our people are NOT like all the others. They are 400 dedicated, hard-working women and men producing KYDEX® thermoplastics, including specialized products for medical devices such as ventilators and sterilization units. These are passionate people doing purposeful work. They are extraordinary.
I imagine you have them at your company, too. The extraordinary ones.
That is how we navigate through this extraordinary time in history - with extraordinary people doing difficult but meaningful work.
No corporate boiler-plate memo could effectively fully explain that.
Thank you for the continued confidence in our people, process and products. Stay safe. Remain diligent. Be extraordinary.
Ronn Cort | President & COO