COVID-19 has put immense strain on supply chains worldwide. The janitorial industry supply chain is no exception, especially as demand for disinfecting products and personal protective equipment has skyrocketed. Many of our clients have asked how we are maintaining our supplies during this ever-changing and challenging climate.
We sat down (remotely) with Howard Cohen, CEO, Daycon Cleaning and Maintenance Supplies to learn more about how they are managing during this time. Daycon has been BMS’s strategic partner and supplier for many years.
What are the biggest challenges Daycon is seeing down your supply chain, and how are you addressing those?
We have been working through our existing supply chain and alternative sources to find key products that are extremely difficult to source currently such as hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, masks, and gloves. Demand for toilet tissue has been robust and suppliers are managing their allocations tightly to ensure continual supply. We have been recently notified by suppliers in some cases that certain key products will be focused on critical customers in the acute care and strategic government locations. We are so very fortunate to have our sister company New Dawn Manufacturing located right here in Upper Marlboro, MD. The amazing team at New Dawn has been working around the clock producing our own disinfectants, hand soaps and other cleaning chemicals to help our community combat this pandemic. We are in daily contact with key suppliers.
How has Daycon adapted its purchasing processes to ensure it has the inventory it needs?
The Daycon sourcing team has been pulling out all the stops. We are quite fortunate to have deep-rooted partnerships with some of the nation’s premier suppliers built up over our nearly 80 years in business. Those suppliers are going well beyond the norm to ensure significant allocations of difficult-to-obtain products for Daycon. In addition, we are working with our manufacturer’s representatives who are literally sourcing around the globe to help our customers get the key products they need to do this important job. We have added new suppliers and built significant inventories on key items.
How has demand for certain products shifted? What are your clients asking for that they weren’t before, and what are they not asking for?
Our clients are seeking EPA approved disinfectants. Our Sales Team, Customer Care, and Marketing Departments have made it a priority to educate our customers on this important distinction and to provide as much information as possible on Daycon’s disinfectants – which are all EPA approved effective against Human Coronavirus.
The product in demand that was never in demand before is masks- whether particle or N95. This is just something we cannot get our hands on right now. Any N95 masks we can source will only be sent to medical facilities or to clients with a true need for them. In a similar fashion, we have prioritized our fulfillment and delivery of goods to our key client partners and critical strategic locations such as government facilities, schools, and healthcare institutions. We are working hard to put out as much key data that our clients can use to stay as informed as possible.
How are you communicating critical information to your clients? Have your communications methods been modified?
Daycon is utilizing Social Media, our Web Site, our On-Hold Message Recording, e-mail blasts and, most of all, person-to-person phone calls. Our Sales Representatives and Customer Care Representatives are in daily, if not hourly, communication with our clients to give them much-needed information on deliveries, product availability, etc. Internally, our employees receive up-to-the-hour information on product status, delivery changes, new inventory, and new messaging and solutions that need to be shared with our customers. This way we can function as smoothly as possible, everyone is in the loop, and we don’t make commitments or promises that cannot be guaranteed.
You make many of your own chemicals in your own manufacturing facility. As more and more people are told to stay home, how have you (or will you) handle staffing to ensure continuity?
Daycon is on the front lines of this fight. We are providing disinfectants, cleaning chemicals, safety gear, paper products and more to our community. Because of this, we are all pulling together, taking care of each other, following all our healthy practices mandates internally and in the field. We have contingency plans to follow CDC guidelines should we face an internal health issue and will do all we possibly can to remain safe and provide these essential products to the community. Our employees know that their health and safety are our #1 priority. Because of that, the team effort is incredible. We have each other’s backs.
What measures did Daycon already have in place for addressing the possibility of a pandemic? Have you found that the measures have been effective?
In addition to having our own pandemic plan in place, we are a professional resource for our clients. We provide training and consulting for LEED buildings, green cleaning programs and more. Because of this, we have readily available manuals, guidelines, and SOPs for “Cleaning for Health”, including what to do during a Pandemic. Our partnership with Building Wellness Institute has given us the tools to teach our clients, as well as ourselves, about cross-contamination and flu-fighting procedures.
What are some lessons you have learned (or processes you have implemented) as a result of the pandemic that you might permanently incorporate into your business model?
As a company, we have learned a lot. We have strategically utilized our 6 ProCenters as pick up points for our clients who need product immediately. We have increased inventories and staff as well as extended hours in the ProCenters during the pandemic. Most importantly, there can never be “too much” communication or appreciation of each other. We all know these are important, but in this case, they are critical. Timely communication and vocal appreciation of our employees and our customers have brought us all together as a team. It has allowed us to provide THE BEST customer service to our clients.
To learn more about Daycon go to their website here.