Located in Pittsburg, California, Bishop-Wisecarver (BW) has been under a Shelter in Place order since March 17. Like everyone else throughout the world, COVID-19 has changed nearly every aspect of our “normal” ways of doing business, but as a team, we’ve found new solutions to meet these challenges. And we’ve found those silver linings throughout the process as we’ve continued to manufacture linear motion products daily and provide our Signature Experience for customers.
Manufacturing is an Essential Business
Did you know for every $1 spent in manufacturing, another $2.74 is added to the economy? Manufacturing is an economic powerhouse for the U.S. and the products created are needed in critical areas. BW’s customers include those creating medical devices, laboratory test equipment, food processing equipment and multiple aspects of aerospace and defense work. Each of these industries had to continue producing their current products, as well as new products to help with the COVID-19 pandemic, and they were relying on us to provide the vital linear motion products.
Some of our product lines that were most used by our essential business customers included DualVee® track and DualVee® guide wheels, LoPro® linear actuators, HepcoMotion® PRT2 precision ring and track and our custom machined products and subassemblies.
Employee Safety and Support
BW has been able to continue operating under a Minimum Basic Operation Mandate which allowed our entire production crew on site each day with social distancing and health guidelines in place. We’ve also had rotating support staff for production so approximately 30% of our workforce has been on site each day, manufacturing and shipping products needed to help our essential customers. Those employees working on site have had lunches provided by BW each day as an appreciation for what they do, as well as preventing trips to vendors that may put them at risk.
Additional facemasks were purchased so employees could also take them home to share with family members and use as needed personally, not just while at work.
All customer facing roles such as customer service teams and application engineers have been converted to remote status and there are all team weekly Zoom calls two to three times per week. Recently, we changed one of the meetings to a Thursday afternoon happy hour to enjoy the social aspects of what is happening with everyone beyond work.
One of the core values of BW is preserving our family culture. While that has always been important, it has taken on a totally new aspect during this COVID-19 experience. With parents working from home, often with young children, BW President, Pamela Kan, early on declared all Zoom calls to be family friendly. This meant kids of all ages could be seen or heard during team calls without concern to employees. This seemingly small decision had a huge impact. As a team, it helped everyone see and learn more about each other’s lives to make our family culture even stronger. And second, it eased up at least a small part of the incredible stress felt from families trying to navigate working and schooling from home.
Service to Local & State Communities
In addition to supporting our customers and employees during this time, BW is using its problem solving skills to help find solutions for local and state initiatives.
When the need for PPEs for medical workers first came to light, BW joined in helping Operation Shields Up (#OpShieldsUp) provide free face shields. Using our 3D printer, we created lower chin supports used in the construction of nearly 400 face shields. This quickly formed non-profit saw a need, put out the request for support and BW was proud to redirect our 3D printer to help in this way.
In addition, Pamela Kan’s years of advocating for the manufacturing industry is being utilized by the state of California as she was appointed to Governor Newsom’s Business and Jobs Recovery Task Force. She is one of 80+ members selected from California’s business, political and social sector to help bring back the state’s economy from the COVID-19 pandemic. Pamela serves on the Small Business subcommittee and has multiple working meetings per month helping bring strong solutions that will help all Californians.
Continuing to Move Forward
There are many lessons to have been learned with this pandemic, but one we’ve clearly realized is that while long term planning is still necessary, short term flexibility is vital to overall success and support of our BW family of employees and customers. We look forward to having our BW team back onsite together when it is safe to do so, but we’ve proven how to work successfully in our remote locations as well. And we look forward to seeing customers face-to-face again, but we also know we can provide their linear motion products as needed no matter the situation.
For nearly 70 years we’ve provided safety, support and service to our employees, customers and communities. That’s a tradition and commitment we look forward to continuing.