by Allison Seabeck, Executive Director, The Warehouse Business Accelerator
Since March, a volunteer collaborative called the Colorado Manufacturer’s COVID Taskforce has been creating unique partnerships and finding innovative ways to support our Colorado community and our Colorado manufacturers through the COVID-19 crisis.
The CO Manufacturer’s COVID Taskforce supports manufacturers with programs to identify pivot opportunities and resources to help businesses stay safe and viable.
New Product Opportunities
In partnership with Lockheed Martin Company and the Warehouse Business Accelerator, the Taskforce is looking to identify Colorado manufacturers interested in producing or commercializing COVID response products. Production Partners of the CO Manufacturers COVID Taskforce are manufacturers approved and available to take on production contracts for PPE and COVID response products that the community needs. Production Partners have access to learn about needs in the community, market opportunities and new potential products that could be produced commercially for COVID response and beyond.
Lockheed Martin’s engineers designed new personal protective equipment (PPE) and other products in response to COVID, including:
- Gowns and protective clothing
- Reusable Face Shields
- Respirator Masks
- PAPR – Pressurized Air Purifying Respirator
- IR Temperature Entry System
- Mask Decontamination Systems (UV and/or Heat)
- Containment Structures
If you are a Colorado manufacturer with interest in learning more about the Production Partner program or the possibility of producing and commercializing any of these specific products, the Taskforce wants to hear from you. Respond to this Request for Expression of Interest Survey by October 16, 2020: http://bit.ly/H2WarehousePivot
Manufacturing Pivot Resources
Economic conditions change, markets fluctuate, customer demand shifts. Manufacturers who intentionally prepare to innovate and adapt are the manufacturers who will succeed. Whether COVID has directly impacted the viability of your business or other pressures have been weakening your market long before the current pandemic, now is the time to evaluate whether, when, and how to make a pivot.
These resources available through partners of the CO Manufacturer’s COVID Taskforce are designed to help your company identify and implement a plan to pivot your operations:
Pivot Assessment Training and Coaching (PATCH) is a 6-step program focused uniquely on your business and what you need to pivot successfully. Expert PATCH coaches from H2 Manufacturing Solutions will help you assess your capabilities, identify what market opportunities are strongest for you, develop an action plan, train your organization on new workflows and procedures, and implement a system to stay agile for future changes.
Limited, competitive grant dollars are available to offset the cost to pivot operations effectively and get to scale quickly on production of new products. Grant funds may be used for initial raw materials, supplies, certain equipment, and PATCH consulting. Pivot Grants are funded through the Warehouse Business Accelerator’s designated giving fund. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Keeping your facility safe
With the COVID Safety System, a team of experts will help you sort through the complexity of CDC, State, and Local government safety guidelines to ensure that you know what is required to make your facility safe in the time of COVID. Whether you are focused on preventing a quarantine shut-down, keeping people healthy, or reducing your company’s legal liability, a third-party assessment of your safety practices and an optional non-accredited certification can serve to validate that you are taking every step possible to keep your people and your community safe.
For more information about the Taskforce:
- Northern Colorado manufacturers coalesce around staying vital during pandemic – The Loveland Reporter Herald
- H2 MANUFACTURING SOLUTIONS ANSWERS CALL FROM CROSSROADS SAFEHOUSE WITH A MASK SHORTAGE SOLUTION FOR THE NATION – The Fort Collins Chamber of Commerce
About the Colorado Manufacturer’s COVID Taskforce
When COVID-19 struck, Colorado manufacturers, especially small- and medium-sized manufacturers, needed a way to pivot their skill sets to avoid layoffs and preserve supply chains. Simultaneously, supplies of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) were extremely low. Many rural areas and critical non-medical human services agencies such as domestic violence shelters, and elder-care facilities were not able to source PPE at all. The Colorado Manufacturers COVID Taskforce consists of a collection of partners who either operate in or support the Colorado manufacturing community and includes Heidi Hostetter, Nathan Morimitsu, and Joe Jackman from H2 Manufacturing Solutions, Allison Seabeck from The Warehouse, Justine Metz, Linda Schutjer from CSU, Eric Bergman from Colorado Counties Inc, Yvonne Myers from Columbine Health, and SeonAh Kendall from the City of Fort Collins. The Taskforce stepped in almost immediately to tackle these two problems with a single, innovative solution – help Colorado manufacturers pivot to produce critical COVID relief supplies.
The initial proof-of-concept work began with two printed circuit board electronics companies in Northern Colorado who had been greatly impacted by supply chain disruption as a result of the virus and were at risk to fail. They pivoted to produce reusable respirator masks and face shields to combat transmission of SARS-CoV-2. Manufacturing experts from the CO Manufacturer’s Taskforce worked with the businesses to repurpose technology, set up new processes and work instructions, and retrain the production staff. Grant funding from the Manufacturers COVID Fund supported some of the initial capital investment required to buy new equipment and initial raw materials. Quick intervention through this collaborative and unique model allowed the two manufacturers to be categorized as essential and remain open through Colorado’s Stay-at-Home order. Twelve manufacturing jobs were saved and 1600 PPE have been produced and donated through the proof-of-concept phase.
About H2 Manufacturing Solutions
H2 Manufacturing Solutions is committed to making day-to-day challenges more manageable and less frustrating through a combination of technology, training, and support. Our team stands ready to help companies of any size identify, evaluate, and solve any problems they have.
About The Warehouse Business Accelerator
The Warehouse Business Accelerator is an economic development-oriented nonprofit that provides advising and resources to scale-up phase manufacturing and technology businesses in Colorado, enabling them to create jobs and bring economic security to our region. The mission of the Warehouse is to bring together the region’s best knowledge and resources to accelerate the success of innovative businesses with high potential for growth. The Warehouse specializes in support for established businesses that have graduated from start-up phase and now face new, different challenges building their business for consistent and sustainable success on a greater scale.
A Manufacturers COVID Designated Fund (the Fund) was created under the 501c3 umbrella of the Warehouse to enable this CO Manufacturers Taskforce efforts by providing financial resources to support manufacturing businesses as they pivot and production contracts for COVID relief products needed by critical service agencies serving our community’s most vulnerable populations. Since building the infrastructure and demonstrating the success of the model, The Warehouse Business Accelerator has taken the lead to replicate the pivot coaching program and expand its reach to manufacturers across Colorado. Through established partnerships with manufacturing industry leaders, we are expanding the model to additional Production Partners and incorporating opportunities to produce and commercialize other vital COVID response products.