It all started with an email sent by Jim Radin, Senior Vice President of Global Supply Chain, on March 25. His question was simple enough: "Could McCormick legally produce hand sanitizer to ease the shortage for our facilities and donate to others?"
The answer came back quickly. An enthusiastic "yes" from Dave Hosford, Operations Manager at the Hunt Valley Plant, and Jerry Nelemans, Plant Manager at McCormick’s plant in London, Canada. This didn’t mean the project would be easy.
In fact, this project was so ambitious that the initial "yes" did not become entirely true until 24 hours prior to the first production run, which happened on April 21 at the London plant. Three days later, the Hunt Valley plant followed. Those 18 working days (21 for Hunt Valley), from the original question to the first batch of hand sanitizer being produced at a McCormick facility, were an exercise in collaboration, flexibility, and generosity.
Two cross-functional, powerhouse teams were assembled and started work within days. Specialists contributed their expertise and passion at daily meetings that tackled everything from applying for temporary licenses from the US and Canadian authorities, or securing raw material supply from vendors, to ensuring the safety for our people and equipment, and confirming no negative impact to production lines that were already under pressure from increased demand during the pandemic.
Soon after the plants had produced enough hand sanitizer to meet internal needs, the team shifted its focus to donations. The plan now, beyond taking the many lessons from this project forward, is to get excess quantity to employees, local hospitals, and emergency response efforts. To date, McCormick has donated more than 100 pails of hand sanitizer to local charities, including the American Heart Association, The University of Maryland School of Medicine, Boys Hope Girls Hope of Baltimore, Healthy Little Cooks, Meals on Wheels, The Franciscan Center of Baltimore, United Way, the Y of Central Maryland, Loyola University, and many other organizations.
“As most people are aware, the COVID-19 pandemic has hit seniors in long-term care and retirement housing extremely hard. My Mom is a resident of a retirement home here in London. When her facility declared an outbreak, and she was quarantined. I was overwhelmed, scared, and feeling quite helpless,” said Lori Kendrick, Line Maintainer, McCormick Canada. “So, when the opportunity was presented to be a part of McCormick's very first-hand sanitizer launch, I was grateful to have the chance to make any contribution I could. The speed and efficiency of this launch shows how much we can achieve when there is great need. McCormick Canada has always had a wonderful reputation for extending a helping (and now sanitized) hand in our community, city, and across the country, and that is something that every McCormick Canada employee should be proud to be a part of. I know I am.”
And a huge thank you goes out to this group of people who taught us just how fast we can move when we move with purpose.
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