The company was deemed an essential business and has managed to stay-a-float during the last few months
VISALIA – The ongoing pandemic has forced a lot of businesses to permanently close their doors. But the family owned Visalia based company, Hellwig Products, was deemed an essential business and has managed to adapt very well.
Hellwig Products is a supplier of parts to military, emergency and other service vehicles in different parts of the country.
When the shelter-in-place order and other restrictions were mandated by Governor Gavin Newson, the company had to quickly adjust their operations. The executive team is able to work from home, but changes were necessary to ensure the safety of their production workers. In the past, the entire production team would come into the facility at 5 p.m. but that had to be changed. At first, the company decided to have three different production shifts.
“We found out we weren’t effective that way, so we’ve adjusted a ton since then,” the company’s president Melanie Hellwig-White said. “We wanted to do something similar to before and things flow a lot better when we’re all there at the same time.”
Now they have different groups starting work between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. That prevents everyone from clocking in at the same time and the breaks are staggered.
“We felt like our front-line team is our production and operation staff. It’s the rest of our job to support them in any way we can,” Hellwig-White said. “We bought and handed out masks to everyone and we have hand sanitizing stations. The executives are at all of the stores scouring the shelves for hand sanitizer.”
Although they figured out their methods for production, April proved to be a difficult month for booking sales.
“People were nervous to buy. Our marketing and sales are different now, so we’re shifting our messaging and focusing on the ‘do it yourself’ market” Hellwig-White said.
Hellwig Products also sells after-market parts for towing or hauling, which is the focus of the projects that customers are doing at home.
Once the pandemic ends, the company wants to ensure that they’re maintaining the proper safety measures. They’re bleaching at the end of every shift and they bought UV lights as an extra measure of sanitation.
“I think it’s going to be even more important as things open back up for us to be even more careful by limiting partner vendors coming in and anyone extra coming into our company,” Hellwig-White said. “As things open up, that’s not going to open up for us. We’re going to keep being strict and if we can be even stricter then we’ll do that.”