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Illustration of a packaging line

How has COVID-19 affected your operations?

Brenton production line

As an OEM, Brenton supports customers from design to installation through the life of the machine.

Photo courtesy of Brenton

Kelly Hawkinson, Focus Factory Manager at Brenton

Kelly Hawkinson

Focus Factory Manager

Photo courtesy of Brenton

One of the challenges that we faced was ensuring enough social distancing space for employees out on the shop floor. We took a hard look at our work stations and realigned some of them to provide more physical space for our people, while still ensuring we’re able to produce the machinery and equipment our customers expected from us. We also had more employees work remotely than ever before. While we’ve been successful in these efforts, it’s certainly been a challenge in learning new things and how to do them differently.

Craig Souser, President  CEO, JLS Automation

Craig Souser

President & CEO
JLS Automation

Photo courtesy of JLS Automation

COVID has had a major impact on our customer’s operations. They have had to install barriers, find ways to stagger shifts and workflows and, where possible, look to automation to get people as segregated as possible. Processors now look at labor as not only a scarce resource, but as a risk to production.

Joe Luke, VP of Sales  Marketing at Reed Lane

Joe Luke

VP of Sales & Marketing
Reed Lane

Photo courtesy of Reed Lane

You still have to crew the packaging lines with the same number of people as before. However, we have instituted protocols for employee safety such as masking, providing face shields and frequently disinfecting packaging rooms. We’ve staggered start times and lunch breaks to help allow for more distancing, and have also made an effort to allow people time off during these stressful times. We don’t want to burn out anyone, and do understand the stress the pandemic has caused.

Chris Baum, Director of Sales Specialists, Veritiv

Chris Baum

Director of Sales Specialists

Photo courtesy of Veritiv

COVID-19 has affected how we work, but it has also brought about creative solutions that we will integrate into our processes moving forward. Pre-pandemic, our Veritiv team would walk the line along with our customers to uncover efficiencies and recommend materials, machines and workflow. Now, our customers invite us to video calls and share pictures of potential issues. We have also worked with our customers to automate machinery to reduce the number of people on the factory floor. The labor issue is a real concern for our customers. Not only does this protect employees from COVID-19 transmission, but it reduces the number of physical touches on a product or package, thus creating greater efficiencies.

Bob Neagle, Commercial Director, Digital Products and Services, Videojet

Bob Neagle

Commercial Director,
Digital Products and Services

Photo courtesy of Videojet

We had this challenge with our customer base — CPGs mostly — having a surge in demand and making it more essential that their printing equipment keeps running efficiently, but they were often running with less on-site personnel, and were sometimes restricting access to our Service Team members. Field service techs have become more like consultants, to research the history of certain printers and then get back to a customer with answers regarding a certain problem.

Spotlight illustration by sorbetto / DigitalVision Vectors via Getty Images

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