Picture this: Your elderly mother has a life-threatening heart condition and needs a cardiac catheterization immediately. But an equipment shortage due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic shutdowns has forced her provider to delay the procedure. In the meantime, your mother suffers as she waits.
At Alpha Swiss Industries, we have worked hard over the past seven months to ensure hospitals, medical centers and doctors’ offices have what they need to deliver extraordinary care to their patients, so the above situation does not occur.
That service starts at the beginning of the supply chain with the surgical components we create. In addition to the industrial and electrical industries, we work heavily with the medical industry, providing parts for cardiovascular, endoscopic and breast biopsy devices. For that reason, when Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker issued a “stay-at-home” order for the entire state starting in March, we were considered an “essential” business and were able to continue doing our work.
We took that designation very seriously. We know the components we create are essential to the end users, and so we have bent over backwards to fill our orders. It hasn’t been easy. Many of our customers are based in Europe, and different levels of restrictions have changed our interactions with them.
As some countries move in and out of lockdown, we must be prepared to fill a large order at a moment’s notice. “We are spinning 15 plates at once, making sure we give all our customers what they need,” said Mike Lumpp, plant manager for Alpha Swiss.
Why our responsiveness hasn’t changed
As the pandemic rapidly changed the global manufacturing landscape, we leaped into action to do our part as a company. To protect our employees, we acquired an infrared temperature scanner to conduct mandatory temperature checks for both employees and visitors. We instituted social distancing protocols, provided masks for our employees and spent hours each day sanitizing equipment, tables, desks and chairs. Our diligence has paid off: We have not had any cases of the virus at our facility.
Even with the extra precautions we have been taking, we have had no disruptions in our production schedule. There are two main reasons why we’ve stayed on time:
- Our Swiss-style machines provide the most efficient way to create components. The machines are designed with multiple axes so we can accomplish several different operations on the same machine. Because of this, we can run operations over three shifts, if necessary, without needing extra manpower to supervise.
- We have a top-notch team. “Our employees are our No. 1 asset,” said Mike. “They are committed to staying safe and doing their job at the same time. They are very conscientious about wearing personal protective equipment when they go out. Our team members have proven themselves incredibly reliable over the past seven months.”
In fact, we have been able to adapt to the new, pandemic-era workflow so well that we have open time on our machines.
Everyone at Alpha Swiss understands that the work we do is crucial. We don’t ever want to put a patient at risk. When your mother needs a heart procedure or breast biopsy, we’re proud to say we are continuing to provide the components needed for that procedure. We’re all doing our part to make this world a safer and better place.