Despite widespread, government-mandated shutdowns in response to the COVID-19 crisis, there remains a need for essential products and services to be provided to the public worldwide. These solutions require adhesives and coatings to be manufactured, installed and maintained by RPM associates. Other RPM products—such as those offered by Legend Brands, Profile Food Ingredients and Nudura—are critical for sanitation, food and construction. Thus, it is imperative that RPM manufacturing facilities continue to operate and serve our communities, while maintaining the health and well-being of our associates.
As part of our 2020 MAP to Growth plan, RPM has been actively engaged in operational improvements across our manufacturing and distribution centers. These improvements have been implemented with the safety of our associates at the forefront. Though we intended to focus on improving process efficiencies, the current pandemic has necessitated a shift in focus to implementing processes and procedures that minimize the spread of COVID-19 to our associates, customers, suppliers and communities. This heightened focus on safety began long before the global push for social distancing and closures of non-essential businesses, and it will only continue to evolve.
As a first step, RPM’s operational leadership team began by isolating non-essential parties from associates deemed essential for manufacturing and distribution. We then implemented processes and procedures aimed at protecting our essential associates, including aggressively cleaning high-touch areas with disinfectant from Legend Brands, practicing social distancing and good hygiene, and screening for COVID-19 symptoms with health self-assessments and on-premises temperature checks. Those who experience a fever or other symptoms, or who have had contact with someone who may be infected by COVID-19, are directed to stay home and seek medical attention.
Operational leaders, with the support of our associates, were tasked with modifying work environments to ensure social distancing. Where appropriate, daily staff was reduced and spread across more shifts/days. Where not practical, workstations are being reorganized to ensure associates work within established social distancing guidelines (6 feet, or 2 meters). Even more importantly, all associates worked as a team to maintain safe distances and healthy practices.
At the same time, the operational procurement teams—always a critical partner in our operational endeavors—are scouring the world to locate the personal protective equipment RPM associates need to do their jobs, to find sustainable sources for the critical materials needed to manufacture products, and to share resources, where possible, across our organization and communities.
Simply put, RPM remains open for business because our customers and communities need us. We have not taken this responsibility lightly and believe that swift, precautionary actions facilitated by our operational leadership and our associates will greatly minimize the potential spread of COVID-19 in our facilities. Many of these actions will continue to be perpetuated in our facilities long after this crisis passes, and our facilities will remain even cleaner and safer as a result.
Vice President – Operations
Vice President – Environmental, Health & Safety