DRI Interviews Packaging & Industrial Machinery Executives Regarding COVID-19 Crisis
Over the course of the past several months, Direct Recruiters has been committed to sharing helpful and relevant information in regard to the COVID-19 pandemic to the Packaging, Material Handling, and Industrial Equipment industries by interviewing Thought Leaders within the space. Led by Partner and Director of Packaging, Material Handling and Food Processing Equipment, Cherie Shepard, the DRI team spoke with Corey Calla, President, White Systems at SencorpWhite about the innovative things they are doing during the pandemic, and how they are keeping employees motivated and engaged.
Corey Calla, President, White Systems
Is your company pivoting at all during this pandemic and are there any initiatives you would like to share about what your company is doing differently either to assist in the fight against Covid-19 or generally how your leadership is handling the situation?
We have pivoted significantly. First off, many of the initiatives we had coming into 2020 were uniquely aimed at problems created by the pandemic such as touchless grocery pickup, micro fulfillment for grocery and automation around grocery because it seemed to be such a hot market. The pandemic drove the need for the applications that we have been putting together and we are having a lot of great conversations with customers. Secondarily, the pandemic drove the need for N95 masks, and as you have heard the President talk about the Production Act, Honeywell reached out to us to purchase 9 machines to make N95 masks. Our machines weren’t originally made for that, so our team went to work and found a way to mold masks in production, which was usually manual. We have shipped 3 machines so far, and other manufacturers having similar PPE equipment are coming to us for our machines.
How are you keeping your employees and teams engaged and motivated?
It has been a mix. The majority of our employees are just happy to be working. They know a lot of friends and family who have lost jobs, especially with our facility being in Cape Cod. Most of the industry here is driven by tourism and hospitality types of jobs. It is empty, quiet and nobody is here this year. So, number one, employees are very happy just to have a job. Number two, is to know they're contributing to something considered national security and home shoring manufacturing. To us, again, these machines would have been made someplace else, and the final product would have been made someplace else, and to know we are bringing it home, and making it in America has motivated our team members to the point where some of them are working overnights to make sure equipment gets overtime. Our employees are seeing that what they are doing and having these machines on the market to help produce equipment, is very meaningful.
What message would you like to share with our industry as a whole in regard to the pandemic?
From my perspective, what I have been doing is looking at opportunity differently. What is out here to pivot slightly from and serve a new market, or how can we find a new way to serve customers that’s unique and makes them more comfortable? Different people are bothered by the pandemic in different ways, so this is really going to change the face of retail, grocery, distribution and manufacturing for quite some time. I'm happy that we are onshoring and bringing jobs back. I’m a big proponent of trades and that type of talent will be in high demand for the next five to ten years. Bringing back industrial America is one of the positive things that has come out of this pandemic.