ILMA Compoundings - June 2020 - 21

COVID-19:
Lessons learned
So, your company survived COVID19. Does this mean scrambling
to write a plan for the next global
outbreak?
Not necessarily. Crisis-response
plans should consider every knowable contingency but avoid bogging
down in details that hinder the
agility that is crucial to survival.
The pandemic experience taught
"the art of being able to pivot and of
being able to get creative to get the
job done," said Jeremy Henry, director of operations at BG Products
Inc., based in Wichita, Kansas. "Most
companies will come out stronger
because they're being forced to
radically and quickly think outside
the box."
Lubricant manufacturers have
learned multiple lessons to apply
going forward:
*	 Test shutdown-related cash
flow. "It's important to know
how long your business can
survive with no revenue - or
50% or 30% of revenue," said
Felix Moreno Jr., owner of EGF

Energy Partners in Houston.
Consider fattening up cash
reserves.
*	 Review insurance coverage.
Many businesses are learning
that business-interruption
insurance doesn't cover pandemic shutdowns.
*	 Look to associations for
guidance. ILMA's advance word
on the legal basis for counting
lubricant manufacturers as
essential businesses helped
Moreno and other ILMA members assure customers, suppliers
and employees that their businesses would remain open.
*	 Put employees first. The
pandemic "made it very clear
what we needed to work on
first - rapidly implement
telecommuting, daily sanitizing,
rearranging work areas, screenings for facility visitors and
employees, and purchasing of
[personal protective equipment]
and other equipment," said Isel

people-oriented culture, their crisis-management plan
will be as people-oriented as possible," said Henry.
Circumstances dictate the extent and look of aid
extended to employees, whether it means helping them
get back on their feet after a natural disaster or protecting
them from health threats, said Moreno. "For you to be
a successful business, your employees need to be happy
and working or as happy as they can be throughout the
disaster," he said. "You have to be flexible, and you have
to work with your employees and help them as much
as possible."
Use of nonemergency, safe work practices helps ensure the
well-being of employees during emergencies, noted Griffin.
"Just because we may be operating under some duress, the

CEO Adam Sandler. Secondary
elements related to productivity,
maintaining revenue and cost
controls received consideration
"only after we secured the health
and safety of our employees as
much as we could," he said.
*	 Give employees choices that
suit their well-being and that
of their families. Moreno's
EGF Partners extended sick-pay
benefits and made coming to
work optional. Only a handful of
employees elected not to work.
*	 Rely on existing processes,
equipment and software for
telecommuting. "We were
able to send almost all of our
office staff home early on in the
pandemic without a lot of prep
or building out of new processes
or systems," said Sandler.
*	 Open lines of communication
to local authorities. Isel's early
outreach to Jacksonville, Florida,
officials helped create a pipeline
for donations the company
offered to city services.

operators cannot override standard operating procedures or
endorse shortcuts that may endanger other employees or the
site," he said.
Time and effort devoted to crafting a thorough, flexible plan contribute to strategic growth. As Henry put it,
world-class companies build world-class relationships,
and emergency preparedness tightens those bonds. "Any
time you can prepare for emergencies and you have a sense
that the leadership has built a foundation, that is going to
strengthen any organization," he said. "It's actually good for
business. It makes you more marketable. It makes you the
partner that other companies want to work with."
McCormick is a Pennsylvania-based freelance writer and a frequent
Compoundings contributor.

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ILMA Compoundings - June 2020

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ILMA Compoundings - June 2020 - 1
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