We Are All in It Together: Making “It” Happen From a Manufacturer’s Perspective

For those that do not know me, I am one of the co-owners of the supplier, Toddy Gear. Our current business is manufacturing USA made masks in our factory in Illinois. 

Running a manufacturing facility in these times is especially difficult. Not only do we have to provide a safe environment for our employees by taking temperatures and blood oxygen levels daily. We monitor their health, create social distancing workstations, and wipe down all workstations and surfaces countless times daily, and in addition to this, we have to produce our distributor’s orders. 

We are amid a pandemic folks. EVERYONE needs a mask. We are merely one of many solutions out there who is doing everything collectively to service our customers and the public during these times. PPE is not the same as a promotional product. Masks do not have to arrive in Times Square before the NYE ball drops. 

We are doing everything we can to get your order out the door, and almost all of us are doing so with honest intentions. We are not overbooking ourselves; we are not being dishonest, and NO, our customer service people will NOT take $500 bribes to get orders placed ahead of others in production. We are running an honest business and doing everything possible in these crazy times to deliver orders on time and frankly keep our employees safe and employed. 

This week, one of our factory employees approached us and told us they were not feeling well, and we had to tell her to stay home for 14 days, or she could return with a doctor’s note clearing her. It turns out this employee drives to and from work with three other people whom we also had to send home until she provides her note because if she is infected, those that ride in her car may be as well. Suddenly, in 15 minutes, we are 50% short-staffed in a single shift department. On top of that, we are running our machinery harder than we ever had before. Should equipment go down, we cannot get the right parts or even a mechanic in to fix the issue in a timely manner due to delays with shippers and the other closed “non-essential business’s” stay-at-home orders. Things take longer. Period!

We are fortunate to be able to provide a service during these times, but we all must adapt. We all must make our customers aware of these trying times to do business, and we all must prepare our customers accordingly. 

As an owner, I fear that the virus might make its way into our facility. If this were to happen, through an employee or a 3rd party vendor working on our equipment or for any other reason, we could potentially be required to shut down upon which ALL orders would be delayed or if not, canceled entirely. Being careful takes time folks, it takes precision and delicacy. Please understand this. Our CSR’s have taken a great deal of abuse lately, and I am sick of it. 

For our valued distributors, please educate your customers accordingly and set realistic expectations so that they are not let down. Understand that we are doing everything we can. However, sometimes, in these trying times, “unexpected stuff” happens, and getting things back on track takes more time than it did in the past. 

Thank you,

Jason Emery