During times of need and uncertainty caused by the coronavirus, people and companies are stepping up to meet needs and make it easier for everyone to #stayathome and help flatten the curve. Amway is no different.
When Grand Rapids-area health system Spectrum Health approached Amway with dire need for hand sanitizer in the midst of battling the coronavirus pandemic, the company immediately went into action.
It involved repurposing its manufacturing line, employees and raw materials to produce and deliver 14,000 bottles of hand sanitizer to supply the system’s 300 locations of hospitals and clinics—all in less than a week and at no charge.
“Our team designed and built new filling equipment, printed labels, produced bottles, and expedited raw materials from all over to make this happen so quickly, and they’ve done it with tremendous enthusiasm, which doesn’t surprise me one bit,” said George Calvert, Amway chief supply chain officer. “Helping others has always been part of Amway’s culture and we need to support each other and our communities now more than ever.”
Hand sanitizer shortage
Frequent hand washing and hand sanitizer are key recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to prevent spreading of germs and viruses. As the number of cases of COVID-19 grew, global demand for sanitizer skyrocketed and Spectrum Health couldn’t meet its own needs.
“We don’t have a stockpile. We are hand to mouth. We are barely keeping up with what we need,” said Kurt Knoth, vice president of the system supply chain for Spectrum Health, said for a Spectrum Health Beat article. “We are getting rationed from our national suppliers.”
Amway doesn’t regularly sell or manufacture hand sanitizer, but that didn’t stop them. The team developed a formula based on a hand sanitizer the company developed for China during the SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) epidemic in the early 2000s.
Troy Finnestad, manager of national accounts for Amway, said they put together a cross-functional team of 40 employees that had a plan in place within 24 hours—they called it Project Light Speed.
“All four of our manufacturing plants stepped up,” Finnestad said. “We had employees coming out saying, ‘How can we help? We want to be a part of this.’
“In my 13 years at Amway, I have never seen something like Project Light Speed. It’s a great feeling from everyone involved—the energy, the excitement and the enthusiasm.”
Knoth said he was humbled, speechless and overwhelmed with gratitude when he learned of the efforts of so many Amway employees in such a short time.
“It almost made me cry,” he said. “They are volunteering to work 24/7 because they know how important this is. … It’s critical to keep our patients safe, and it’s critical for our staff.”
You can read more about Project Light Speed at Spectrum Health Beat or in the Amway Global Newsroom. Amway will not be offering hand sanitizer for sale or for donation to individuals. Nor is the company able to donate hand sanitizer beyond West Michigan due to the availability of raw materials to produce the sanitizer.
To learn more about Amway and its regular products, visit amway.com.