The manufacturing industry in general, no matter the size or niche, is being impacted by COVID-19. It’s changed consumer demand, it’s changed how business is conducted, it’s changed regulations and it’s changed how we all think about health measures worldwide.
The manufacturers that are still thriving in these times have figured out a way to quickly and agilely adapt to the new normal. Some have found methods to help in the fight against the virus by putting their resources into developing products that can assist those who are on the frontlines. Others have been able to follow the money as the demand has surged for some products and fallen for others. They also have figured out how to keep their employees safe and stepped up their processes.
GNB Corporation is managing the pandemic by doing all of the above.
Dealing With Uncertainty
Right when the pandemic began and stay-at-home orders were implemented, GNB Corporation decided it would not put off making difficult decisions. To not make a decision would mean that later on we would have less choices. So, we decided on how we would operate and the mechanisms we would put in place. As time went on, we made small revisions to this action plan, but ultimately, it helped guide us.
Essentially, instead of getting consumed by panic, we took action.
These actions included:
- Working remotely when possible
- Contingency planning
- Staying abreast of government incentives and regulations
- Implementing alternate work schedules
Industry Trends/Manufacturing Changes
As things began to unfold, we followed key industry metrics for inventory and production demands. Because data points often change, we haven’t stopped doing so. Following industry trends allowed us to position ourselves to offer the type of vacuum components in demand, while not tying up cash in slow-moving inventory.
Part of that is figuring out how we can help in the fight against COVID-19. Shortly after the country went into lock down, GNB Corporation was designated as an essential business because we are helping to manufacture vacuum components that get used when manufacturing COVID-19 test kits.
From the military sector, to defense, to medical products, what we do at GNB Corporation is important in the fight against COVID-19. Our employees are a team of heroes who show up every day to make this happen.
Internally, we doubled down on employee health, utilization rate and the ability to produce enough to cover fixed expenses. We have given employees the latitude to be off to teach their children or manage their medical risks, and at the same time we have scheduled our resources so that we are continuing to meet the needs of our customers.
We are following social distancing and all the cleaning procedures necessary to keep our team healthy. And they find the work to be rewarding because we are making a difference in the fight against COVID-19.
Our ability to manufacture vacuum components is unrivaled in the industry, which has also helped us maintain business internally. We have an amazing team of welders, engineers, technicians and other skilled staff. Additionally, our lights-out robotics and manufacturing automation gets the job done quickly and precisely—with no risk of COVID-19 infection.
Our standard for welding is that it cannot leak more than one thimble full of helium in over 30 years. With that sort of demand for excellence, our customers are rarely disappointed and because of that they depend on us for their vacuum components.
And because our operations are supported by robotics and automation, we can produce vacuum components quickly enough to meet any demand thrown at us. This allows us to stay on top of orders and welcome new ones as the needs of our customers shift as a result of COVID-19.
By swiftly putting the right plans in motion, tracking industry trends, helping in the fight against COVID-19 and focusing on employee health and production, we have been able to successfully manage our manufacturing process during this pandemic.
I am thankful to all of our employees, our management team and our great customers who have stuck with us during this unprecedented time.
These are difficult times. Perhaps there will be a greater reshuffling of wealth due to COVID-19 than at any other time in history. There are huge challenges that were not foreseen by the best forecasters, yet huge opportunities in areas that had never-before-been-imagined. As a company we must follow the money, and strive to be in the right place at the right time. Irrespective of the nightly news, not all is doom and gloom. As we are able to adapt quickly and make the best decisions (with the available information) each day, we are working to turn our struggles into opportunities.
Onward and upward.