May 8, 2020
CNC Machining Houses in the "New Normal"
With the onset of the current pandemic it’s a safe assumption that most modern medium volume machining houses have been turned upside down. Fermer Precision was no exception but we are proud to say we have safely and efficiently remained operating to exceptionally high standards we always have with many improvements. Fermer Precision is located in New York State. Fortunately Fermer continued operation during a time when New York Sate “paused”. During this pause Fermer needed to remain in operation because we are an essential business due to the nature of the products we manufacture for our customers who are also considered essential. This essential operating does not occur without much strife, anxiety, concern, sweat, blood, and tears. The last part of that statement may be an exaggeration but honestly it is not much of one. With some scheduled orders pushed out many weeks, some customer orders significantly pulled in, it becomes challenging from a logistical standpoint. Material issues, people issues, equipment constraints all become problematic on a daily basis. Cash flow becomes a bigger concern than it was before. When it was normal to order 100 inserts to enjoy a discount when you knew you would use them suddenly you had better consider ordering only 20. Managing all these logistical and monetary issues is tough enough. Then when you consider the most important aspect of running any operation day to day it can feel almost overwhelming. Obviously, the most important aspect of our daily working lives is the safety of ourselves and our people. Our work places are now so different in the all important effort of keeping our employees safe. There are many new things we are doing and probably will always do going forward in order keep our people safe. At Fermer we are fully committed to keeping our people safe. If we can’t we will not stay open.
So how do we do this? We adapt as we always have but in new ways. We learn to do things differently. We learn new efficiencies. We all become more flexible. Some of our people need to work remotely. Offsite individuals’ contributions are no less important than people on site. We learn new ways to communicate. We also see what is truly important and what is not. Our machine operators have become even more flexible and adaptable. They run multiple jobs and machines simultaneously as they always have where appropriate but we are learning new ways to do this in a safe efficient manner. We’ve challenged our standard work practices, improved them and refined them insuring the highest quality and efficiency.
Fermer is lucky that our team is made up of committed excellent people who are extremely adaptable. Without our adaptability we could never compete with low cost country sourcing in a non-business friendly, heavily taxed state. However, the business environment in this state is a topic for another time and blog. Our adaptability has allowed us to succeed in the past and continues to do so especially now. Our employees are willing to do what it takes to keep our company moving forward. New normals are part of our daily lives. Deep cleaning, disinfecting, social distancing are some things we never thought we had to do to the level we are now. We have fewer or no meetings face to face without social distancing. Three months ago, these are things we never would even think about. Still in our 80 plus years in existence we have always rose to challenges and this is one like no other. We have embraced the changes to our daily lives and culture. When it is extremely easy to give up, our people rose to the occasion. They are embracing the new normal and running with it. Every day we are innovating new ways to stay safe. Our lives are filled with new routines, new habits, and new ways of doing things. Biometric devices for clocking in and out are no longer in use. Points where multiple people touch over and over again are no longer used where possible. If we have no choice, we have put in methods to mitigate people from potentially infecting each other. The look of our work place has changed. We have spread out. Nobody is within six feet of each other without a mask. Next to our normal signage regarding quality, our mission statement, normal HR information we have “hand washing” signs. Yes, hand washing. We explain not only the need and frequency but also how to wash your hands. Did we not know how or when to wash our hands before? Evidently we did not. Yes we all have chapped hands. We can live with that. We all have inhaled much more alcohol fumes, from hand sanitizer, and bleach from disinfecting wipes than we would like to have or expected to but we can live with that. We miss sitting next to each other in the break room and eating lunch but we can live with that. We miss having coffee with each other at break time but we can live with that. Sometimes we feel like masked strangers acknowledging each other with a nod or wave but we can live with that too. The bottom line is we can live with all of this and we will so we and our families can continue to live with good health and an income in supporting our valued customers.
Recognizing these challenges occurred we are proud to continue operations and we know we will continue to do so. The value we provide our customers is exceptional especially when you consider the safety of the buy. We are here, we are thriving in a time when our competitors including the ones in Asia are struggling. If you need CNC machining services, you cannot deal with uncertainty and unknowns. You can’t deal with sourcing from unstable unreliable places. You need to be working with Fermer to insure you receive exceptional value and guaranteed service and delivery. We are proud of our accomplishments, we are proud of the customers we have but most importantly we are proud of our people and the amazing job they do and will continue to do.