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Manufacturer pivots to critical products in the fight against COVID-19

  • Cam Buchan
  • |
  • Apr 24, 2020
Manufacturer pivots to critical products in the fight against COVID-19

Ivey students, faculty and alumni are finding innovative ways to help their communities and businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you, or a student, faculty member or alum you know, is making a difference in some way, please tell us. We’d love to share their stories.

Leah Coutinho Mauer doesn’t see herself or the family-run business as doing anything special.

After all, Multi-Blend Ltd., the manufacturer of industrial and institutional chemical maintenance products where she is general manager, has been supplying their customers who provide cleaning products to institutions, such as offices, restaurants, hotels, airports and hospitals, with the materials they need for 33 years now.

But the COVID-19 crisis, and the massive disruption it has caused in supply chains, market needs, and the demand for new products, has placed the organization in a position to help put much needed disinfectants and sanitizers in the hands of Canadians. Multi-Blend has shifted from a line of approximately 150 products down to a priority list of 20 that are critical in the battle against COVID-19, and is expediting a new product launch, including hand sanitizers, to address needs.

“We've prioritized customers who are supplying long-term care facilities, hospitals or apartment buildings where there are public spaces that need to be disinfected,” said Coutinho Mauer, EMBA ‘20. “We have customers who are cleaning health-care facilities, airports and public transit, anything like that. We are shifting the way that we do our production to accommodate their needs.”

The change in production certainly meets an important business need, but the reasons for the change go way beyond the balance sheet.

“It’s all about the public safety interest that we can address at this moment,” she said. “What are the needs of the public? That is really where we want to shift our business focus temporarily. We’ve communicated to our customers that we want to get as much product as possible out to support the Canadian fight against COVID-19.”

Coutinho Mauer said customers have been supportive of the move.

While meeting this new demand was important, the organization, deemed an essential service as a manufacturer, made certain the proper protocols were in place to ensure staff felt safe while working.

“Our staff certainly feel proud of being able to provide products that really help out during all of this. We’ve received good feedback from our staff and from customers in being able to help out in this way.”