Even while Trim-Tex has remained in production throughout the unpredictable COVID-19 pandemic as an essential business, like everyone else, we’ve been forced to make tough choices and stay on our toes. The last time we gave you an update on what our company is doing to keep our Trim-Tex family safe while still providing top-notch service to our customers, it was springtime, and the situation was uncertain. Now, as we approach autumn, the situation is still uncertain, but there have been numerous important lessons coronavirus taught Trim-Tex — many of which we will be carrying into whatever the “new normal” is — to make us a better manufacturer than ever before.
‘Communication was a struggle in the beginning’
While Trim-Tex has gone to great lengths in the past to modernize our operations, we’re a manufacturer, not a tech startup full of telecommuters. That is to say, when we decided to send nearly all our front-office staff to work from home back in March, our IT department had to bring a lot of us up to speed for working remotely in a remarkably short time span.
One of the departments most impacted by this radical shift was our award-winning Customer Service team — whose standards are as high as their skill levels.
“Our communication was a struggle in the beginning,” says Donna Ramirez, the head of the Trim-Tex Customer Service team. “Whether someone was at home or in the office, they all experienced some sort of stress. Those at home had distractions, slower internet speed making the job take longer, or no internet service at times. Those at home also struggled with working off a tiny laptop when they are used to two monitors and fast connection. Things were uncomfortable at home, but they made it work and never complained about it.”
The phone lines at Trim-Tex never stopped ringing, and the team never slowed down. Through a combination of their own abilities and new technology — the IT department used software that allowed the customer support team to remotely access their work computers, and forwarded calls to their cell phones — our Customer Service team is now able to weather any storm. It may have been a struggle, but they learned new skills and new telecommunication tools that will continue being invaluable in the future.
‘Trim-Tex employees are a resilient team’
While many of us were able to get our jobs done from home, the real heroes at Trim-Tex — those working in the plant to continue manufacturing top-of-the-line vinyl drywall accessories — never stopped coming in to work, day in and day out. It’s a testament to these men and women’s skills and characters that, even while the world was in turmoil, Trim-Tex never saw a dip in the quality or quantity of our work.
First off, though, the Operations department had to rethink its entire way of doing things to make sure its team was working safely. This included restructuring the production line so that workers were at least six feet apart from one another, as well as outfitting them with protective equipment.
“The biggest challenge for Operations was, how could we keep our employees safe while continuing to produce product at a high-quality level that our customers expect?” says Plant Operations Manager George Sobota. “We had to act quickly with conflicting and changing information.”
That information has never stopped changing regularly, even now. Essential workers like those in the Trim-Tex plant have shown incredible strength in the last several months, and we’ll never stop being indebted to them as we continue trying to figure things out moving forward.
“First and foremost, I learned that Trim-Tex employees are a resilient team,” said George. “People truly do care for each other’s wellbeing and are willing to work for the common good. I also learned that, although a pandemic was (and is) happening, we are willing to forge ahead and make Trim-Tex more competitive in this new environment.”
The ‘new normal’
As of now, Trim-Tex, like the world, isn’t “back to normal” — but we are starting to see signs of what the “new normal” might look like.
Many staff members have started to come back to the Trim-Tex HQ on a part-time basis, some on Tuesdays and Thursday, some on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Masks are required as people walk about the office, which is dotted with sanitation stations and bottles of hand sanitizer. Temperature checks as you enter the building are mandatory. Conference rooms have strict caps on how many people can occupy them, and for how long. The Maintenance team has been tireless in their efforts to keep our facilities clean and safe.
Communal gathering spots around the office largely sit empty, more often than not, but you won’t hear anyone here complain about it. Trim-Tex team members are all doing what they can to keep spirits high and the business booming as much as possible. And our business is more nimble and more prepared than ever if things change or, God forbid, get worse; one of the many lessons coronavirus taught Trim-Tex is that we are ready, at the drop of a hat, to help each other.
If you have any questions, we are here and ready to help, whether we’re at home or at the office. Call our expert Customer Service team any weekday, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. CT, at 800-874-2333, or send in your question here. And, as always, follow all the updates from the CDC on how to keep yourself safe here.