By: Mary Koutras, R&D Technical Leader
“We are Family” was the Duro-Last Sales Seminar theme in 2001. Never has that statement been more reflective than during the COVID-19 pandemic.
When U.S. news agencies began to report on the massive shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) in hospitals due to COVID-19, employees within Duro-Last conducted a brainstorming session to generate ideas to aid with the supply issues.
Based on the idea bank that was created, Duro-Last did what we do best by developing a specialty PVC film formulation for gowns and masks while retooling existing equipment to make watertight seams for the new products. This innovative team was able to take the PPE initiative from concept to production in less than seven days! As of today, we are now producing masks at all of our Duro-Last locations throughout the country.
Another recent initiative involved using our manufacturing equipment at Duro-Last’s sister company Anvil Paints & Coatings to make disinfectant and hand sanitizer to supply to all our plants to ensure the safety of our employees who are working on site. To date, we have manufactured over 11,000 masks, 40,000 gowns, 200 gallons of disinfectant, and 5,000 gallons of sanitizer.
Along with product managers, manufacturing, and the R&D Department, the success of these projects is due to the support from multiple dedicated teams at Duro-Last. The Purchasing Department quickly procured materials, the Quality Assurance team tested seam integrity against ASTM standards, and the Customer Service team set up our internal systems to track inventory and take orders. Inventory and Costing Specialists determined the quickest and most effective mode of distribution, and the Continuous Improvement Department made the process more efficient. Finally, the Safety team created Safety Data Sheets and safe-use documents, and of course, support from company leadership helped to fast-track the manufacturing initiative.
The themes from the past Duro-Last Seminars mirror the internal philosophies which provide the foundation of who we are and what we stand for. “We are Family”, “Above and Beyond”, and “Together We Can” are just a handful of themes that continue to define the employees of Duro-Last and the relationship we have with you.