The Spark: How has Triangle Fluid Controls pivoted during COVID?
MB: At the time COVID-19 had hit China in January 2020, Triangle Fluid Controls was going about our normal day-to-day business with our network of distributors, which included distributing our products to 32 countries around the world. When COVID-19 quickly spread across the world in March, businesses began to shut down in Canada. We had several people working remotely. The call for PPE was huge and one of our partners brought forward a design for PPE and we saw an opportunity. Part of our gasket-cutting technology lends itself very well to cutting out the design for face shields. So we launched a company-wide fundraising campaign and were fortunate to have incredible employees who stepped up and donated a lot of money to facilitate the project. We had others, like our marketing manager Sylvia Flegg, who designed the stickers. Triangle Fluid Controls provided the plastic for the face shields and leveraged some of our business partners for other material donations like Hume Media’s stickers, AM Rubber and Foam Gaskets’ foam and another local company (it wishes to remain anonymous) that donated elastics. Our mindset was “let’s do something to give back in this time of need,” and so we pivoted our manufacturing capabilities to produce and donate 1,800 face shields to Quinte Health Care, which serves more than 160,000 people living in the regions of Prince Edward County, Hastings County and the southeast portion of Northumberland County.
The Spark: How easy or difficult was it to pivot operations?
MB: With our phenomenal team, it was relatively easy to pivot. As soon as we came up with the idea and the design for it, our entire staff — and some of their family members at home — were onboard. Employees were even taking things home to assemble to be ready for donation. We already had the equipment, infrastructure and people eager to volunteer. It was merely a question of when, how many and what resources we were going to allocate to it.
The Spark: What have you learned from pivoting?
MB: No one would have ever thought that something like the pandemic could happen, but it did. I think what we’ve all learned from this is that it’s important for us to be, and continue to be, a nimble organization — whether it’s retooling products to make face shields using technology to have people work remotely — in order to be successful and to keep the business going. There are a lot of businesses that have unfortunately closed or have been running with half their staff. One of the things I’m so grateful for is that we haven’t had to resort to that and our employees have been able to take home a full paycheck every week.