Managing through COVID-19 in the Fastener Industry

Richard Manno during Covid 19

The first months of 2020 were great for precision fastener manufacturer Richard Manno based in West Babylon, New York.

With the rest of the country, however, executive vice president Jason Wagner and general manager Ilian Dimitrov watched business take a turn as news of a global novel coronavirus outbreak turned into actual confirmed cases in New York.  In short order, New York City became a “hot spot” in the U.S. for COVID-19 reported cases and deaths.

Richard Manno leadership brought in isopropyl alcohol, gloves and masks in an effort to minimize germ-spreading on-site when more bad news broke: a few Richard Manno team members – all who worked in the older of two production buildings – had tested positive for the novel coronavirus.  Dimitrov himself had to self-quarantine when he and other family members exhibited (and later were confirmed positive for) COVID-19 symptoms.

Richard Manno, like its manufacturing customers, is an essential business and needed to stay open. But between the workers with COVID-19 symptoms, those who feared contracting the virus from co-workers and those acting on media coverage of non-essential workers staying home, the company’s available workforce numbers were taking a hit.  A significant portion – some 30-40 team members – did not come in to work for two weeks.

Thankfully, remaining courageous team members pulled together and kept the company’s 17 Swiss CNC machines running and orders shipping from its newer production building, while leadership put measures in place to help workers get comfortable with returning to work.

Today, most of the Richard Manno team who is able is back on the job.  Having led through what they hope was the eye of the COVID-19 storm, Jason and Ilian shared this advice during a recent interview with Fully Threaded Radio:

Do everything you can to maintain a safe, healthy work environment.  Richard Manno fogs and disinfects its workplace and is providing as much personal protective gear as they can get their hands on such as gloves and masks for team members. They modified work schedules around the number of workers that could be on-site with safe social distancing and what office work could be done from home. Managers are also using non-contact thermometers to check temperatures before shifts begin. New signs around the buildings remind workers about “Personal Responsibility” for the health and safety of co-workers and give advice about what to do if a team member becomes symptomatic.

Accept that some things need to be taken day-by-day. Everyone is learning as they go when it comes to COVID-19.  Decisions need to be  based on circumstances-at-hand and the most current information available. “No one can predict how other people are going to behave in a crisis like coronavirus,” said Wagner, reiterating the importance of empathy and understanding in this situation.

Reach out to your network.  Richard Manno customers helped the precision fastener manufacturer wade through vague state resources to confirm that it was considered an essential business.  The company’s IT vendor helped anticipate and set up for keeping critical business functions moving remotely.  And, Richard Manno is very grateful to other manufacturing partners in the area who helped the company to get through an unprecedented rough patch.

Advocate for more COVID-19 testing where it makes sense.  Employees are rightfully anxious about being exposed to coronavirus and more testing would help alleviate some of concerns about returning to work.  Jason and Ilian cited the difficulty of securing COVID testing in their community in those early weeks, even for individuals with symptoms.

Listen to the Fully Threaded Radio 4/23 interview with Richard Manno.

From  The Richard Manno Company has been supplying the industry with high quality precision fasteners and other quality machined products for over 40 years.  Through continuous improvements in processes, investments in new facilities, equipment and personnel, The Richard Manno Company makes every effort to exceed customer expectations. The Richard Manno Company is ISO 9001 certified, ITAR Registered, as well as a QSLM/QSLD Class 2 government approved supplier.


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