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Industry News

Manufacturing, COVID-19, and Essential Services: Metlon

Published: 4/15/2020

Manufacturing has not escaped the impact of COVID-19. True, unlike retailers and restaurants, manufacturing inherently has less traffic and more space between people and equipment. However, even if a manufacturer is not under their state’s mandate to shut down, the downstream affect has wreaked havoc on production processes and taken its toll on human capital - those who are either unable or unwilling to work under the threat of this pandemic.

Metlon Corporation, specializing in precision, narrow width custom slitting is now experiencing both the positive and negative effects of COVID-19. While we have not considered ourselves among the essential services that need to remain open, we have suddenly found that some of our customer are. Their work has been deemed “essential,” and a few companies have provided a certified letter confirming their classification, thereby converting our status to essential as well. Rhode Island was among the first states to mandate a “stay home” edict, but we have remained open, responding to these customers pleas for greater production and faster turnaround.

Keeping a business’s doors open during this crisis is certainly a plus for a company’s financial wellbeing. We are certainly thankful for the ability to remain open, and to pay our employees. As always, our staffing levels reflect our production needs, including jobs in the planning pipeline, from machine operators to shipping. Predicting the upcoming production demands as well as the future health and availability of our skilled operators is difficult, but we constantly monitor both sides of that equation.

Logically, we might have an issue with rising demand for production at our current staffing levels. Currently, we have the skilled operators required to maintain our schedule, which includes those companies deemed “essential,” from business transactions to medical diagnostics to PPE. Also, to the extent we are able, we are also beginning to plan for an uptick by reviewing our scheduling log.

From the outset of this pandemic, we had instituted high level, thorough and professional cleaning protocols daily, with added care and cleaning during each day, from the door-knobs and railings to the incoming deliveries. Daily due diligence has changed our routine, noticeable in the lunch room, where our 6’ tables, that used to seat 6 employees during lunch and breaks now seat just two employees, one chair at each end, facing each other at the required distance. The arrangement of each table has also been re-positioned to comply with safe distances. The machinery was already positioned with sufficiently wide aisles and room for the operators, more than meeting today’s compliance standards.

Nevertheless, despite our efforts, our customer, and their manufacturing customers, we understand that a surge in illness or extended quarantines throughout this chain could continue, making matters worse. If the demand does increase quickly or exponentially - and we wish it were not the result of this or any crisis - we are prepared to respond to that surge by re-scheduling our production, and making whatever other revisions are possible. At the moment, the prospect of a flattening outbreak curve may also plateau the production requirements for essential services related to COVID-19, restoring balance to business and manufacturing operations.

About Metlon Corporation
As one of only four nationally based Authorized Distributors of 3M™ Scotchlite™ Reflective Material, Metlon supplies a wide variety of reflective roll goods and reflective narrow fabrics for numerous industries and applications, and stocks many of the reflective items used in the making of high visibility shirts, vests, etc.

Posted 4/22/2020

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