By: Greg Owens, Co-Founder & CEO, Sherrill Manufacturing/Liberty Tabletop
Posted May 15, 2020
On Friday May 15, 2020 the state of New York entered “Phase One” of re-opening which means manufacturing businesses can operate at full capacity. As should be, there are precautions to protect the health and safety of our employees, our community and our customers. This includes continuing the practices that Sherrill Manufacturing has had in place while operating as an essential business for the past 8 weeks. Management has been in close contact with MACNY, The Manufacturers Association of Central New York, regarding best practices in accordance with New York State guidelines. Our approach has been proactive since day one. We are part of the MACNY “Keep People Safe and Factories Running” program, a support network to share experiences, techniques and information that does just that.
During the stay at home period our company has been operating on a limited basis as an “essential business” in order to manufacture and fulfill GSA orders for the United States military. We have also remained open as a warehousing/distribution and fulfillment center to distribute flatware to customers who ordered from our website. Both of these activities were part of the business types listed as “essential” by the State of New York.
We feel very fortunate to have received a large amount of orders for the military though our GSA contract, including an order for the USNS Comfort in the New York harbor. These orders allowed us to maintain the majority of our manufacturing employees on staff. There were several manufacturing employees who were or had family members at home in an “at risk” category who have stayed at home during this period and will continue to do so until it is safe for them to return to work. Also, all office employees involved in sales, marketing, accounting, human resources, as well as non-essential management have been working from home. Most will continue to do so as we safely re-open our operations to 100%.
In addition to the large number of GSA orders for our military, Liberty Tabletop sales have increased dramatically over the past eight weeks. We attribute this to a sharp increase in Americans wanting to help revive our economy by supporting American manufacturing and products that are made in the USA. Everyone at Sherrill Manufacturing/Liberty Tabletop is grateful to those thousands of customers who have purchased our flatware over the past few weeks. We hope and expect that this trend will continue and as a result are in the process of hiring additional employees to allow us to keep up with increased demand. Inventories of non-GSA items are very low and there are several patterns that are currently on back order. Now that we are able to operate at 100% without limitation on the products we can produce we hope to have everything back in stock within the next few weeks.
This has been and continues to be a difficult period for all of us at home and at work. Matt and I feel very fortunate to have been able to safely continue operations at work while keeping our employees safe and healthy. Matt has had numerous discussions with our team in the factory. The first goal is for everyone to stay healthy. By following procedures meant to avoid the virus, we are keeping ourselves, our families, our coworkers and their families safe. Keeping the team together will benefit us all. We could not be more proud of the effort that our team has put forth as we worked through the challenges of the past few months. Now, as we move forward to the next phase, we are all committed as ever to doing our part to help rebuild the American manufacturing economy…one fork at a time!