When running a business, many scenarios cross your mind. You prepare and plan and adapt. Yet very few, if any, can say they were prepared for the global pandemic that has put stress on not only their company, but also its team members and its operations. As always in challenging times, good things still have the opportunity to happen. Chicago Glue recently helped another small business rise to the challenge of finding that silver lining.
As COVID-19 began spreading, Systematics, a family-owned and operated business that designs and produces displays, signage, fixtures, and kiosks, was contacted by healthcare workers across the U.S. who were in need of personal protective equipment (PPE). Systematics immediately adjusted its operations to produce face shields, intubation safety boxes, and safety partitions. As Systematics increased its efforts to benefit healthcare workers, the company believed that it had the potential to do even more—but it needed a stronger production process.
That’s when Andy Sanghani, owner and president of Systematics, contacted Nirel Inman, a fellow member of the Entrepreneur and Family Business Council. He was eager to know if Inman, co-president of Chicago Glue & Machine, would have a solution to speed up Systematics’ production of face shields and thus increase its output.
When Inman received the call from Sanghani, she was excited for the opportunity and knew that Chicago Glue could help provide what Systematics needed to ramp up production. She connected Sanghani to Adam Norton, Chicago Glue sales manager, so the two could discuss options. At the time, Systematics was creating face shields by hand with hot glue guns.
Norton suggested purchasing a piece of automatic hot-melt dispensing equipment and sourcing a conveyor belt to keep the product moving down the line. Within just a few days, Rafael Palacio, mechanic and machine operator at Chicago Glue, was on site at Systematics to help install the adhesive equipment.
“The machinery is able to identify when a foam piece is approaching and then dispenses the right amount of adhesive onto the foam, using a pattern controller to determine when and where to apply the adhesive, making this step in production entirely automated,” Palacio explains.
In less than a week, Chicago Glue was able to help Systematics leverage technology to create a better production process and expand production from one assembly line to two. The Chicago Glue team has also been supplying technical support from a safe social distance: Norton diagnosed an issue with the equipment by inspecting the information on the control panel remotely using FaceTime.
“Chicago Glue was very helpful and we received multiple follow-ups when back and forth conversation and support was needed,” said Callie Schoeneman, head of Digital at Systematics. “Our team greatly appreciates the quality customer support at Chicago Glue.”
Before installing the adhesive equipment and updating its technology, Systematics had a crew of 15 people assembling approximately 3,000 face shields per shift on one assembly line. Now the company has more than doubled its output with approximately 6,000 face shields made on each assembly line during each shift.
Chicago Glue reports that this project goes deeper than simply helping Systematics increase production. The teams at Systematics and Chicago Glue are proud to be doing their part to provide lifesaving supplies for those who need it most.