Information Download: How Mold Builders are Moving Forward During COVID-19

Compiled by Dianna Brodine, managing editor, The American Mold Builder

The AMBA has been offering roundtable discussion webinars for its members where member company representatives can discuss issues related to the current pandemic with their peers as businesses begin to ramp up production and bring employees back on site. Here, a brief glimpse is provided into the conversations happening between mold builders across the country. Member companies are not identified in this article.

How are you screening employee health? What safety measures are in place?

  • We asked our employees to complete a five-question questionnaire, with questions based on recommendations from the CDC, such as have you been exposed to people who have traveled internationally, are you experiencing flu-like symptoms, etc. We are verifying their survey responses every day. One entrance has been designated for employees, and we are taking temperatures, which is now mandated by our governor.
  • We are taking employee temps before they clock in, have made it mandatory for everyone to wear masks and are encouraging anyone who is sick to stay home. We have one person (foreman or plant manager) taking temps in each building. Also have a checklist so we know who is in the buildings each day and that their temps were taken.
  • Masks are available, but not mandatory. However, we need to start taking temps. We have varying start times, and there’s no one up front right now when people come in, so it’s a logistics issue as to how that is implemented.
  • We have masks available, but not mandatory. We haven’t done anything formal with the temperature-taking yet. We also are following the CDC-recommended precautionary cleaning in high-touch or high-traffic areas.
  • We have made masks mandatory. We also have restricted visitors until June and no one is going out to visit customers. There is no temperature testing right now, but every employee has the HR manager’s cell phone number and all employees have been told to stay home and call if they are ill or have been exposed.
  • We are mandating face masks, so we’ve provided reusable, washable face masks to all employees.
  • We’re treating masks like all of our other PPE, where in certain areas of the plant it is mandated that masks are worn and in other areas it is not.
  • Our facility put yellow tape on the floor to remind everyone about maintaining safe distances. We also have put Xs at the entrance to offices to stop employees from walking into those spaces, and we have measured appropriate distances between chairs in the break room.

How will you bring older workers (or employees in general) back and keep them safe?

  • Some workers are able to work remotely, so we keep them there. Also, we have one employee nearing retirement and we are working out an alternative position that will enable him to minimize interaction. We also are offering a second shift that a lot of people are taking advantage of – both those who are older and people who suddenly had children at home when school was cancelled. We want to make sure everyone feels safe and comfortable coming to work.
  • We staggered shifts so that fewer employees are working each shift. Also, we changed our schedule so more people are working four 10-hour shifts and then spread those employees out over six days.
  • We went from four 10-hour shifts to two different cells – so now one cell works M,T,W and the other works Th-F-S. This gives us less people on each shift, less people co-mingling. It’s been a difficult process, but this is our third week and we’re starting to get the bugs out. It’s all about keeping people safe, so we’re doing the best we can. I’m not sure we’ll go back to our old shift schedule. Eventually, we’ll be running more hours – we are more efficient now, but we don’t have the bodies to be as efficient as we can. We may stay in this setup and hire more employees down the road.

How are you cleaning / disinfecting?

  • Disinfection materials are available at each station. We’re lucky in that we already have some distance between each work station, and we’re asking the operators to clean and disinfect their own stations.
  • We have gotten multiple quotes for outside cleaning services, but haven’t implemented anything yet.
  • We’re using an internal person working full-time. They have a checklist that goes hour-by-hour as to which high-touch areas and which parts of the shop to clean at specific times.
  • We’ve got an internal cleaning crew and have added a couple of workers to that crew to deal with the added disinfection.
  • We have an internal person who wipes everything down at the end of the day, so the next day it’s clean. We also have an external cleaning service that we have given specific direction to that complies with CDC recommendations.
  • We have four shared CNC programming stations, so that’s a concern for us. We’re constantly cleaning those, and they all have Clorox wipes near them, but the habits of our employees haven’t been reinforced yet – they aren’t doing it as consistently as they should.

How are you tracking Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) spending?

  • We received money pretty quickly. It appears the bank is in charge of validating what that money is used for, and our bank recommended that the funds be placed in the general fund. Because we are working with a local bank and have a relationship with them, we’ll validate the funds that qualify at that time.
  • Our company is creating a sub-area in Quick Books to have the ability to track those funds.
  • We’ve put all of that money into a payroll account, with no tracking after that.
  • Assuming we receive it, we’ll keep it in a separate account and transfer money into the bill-paying account for payroll, using a spreadsheet to see if there’s room to work in utilities, etc. There are several calculators available that will show if we can get it forgiven, allowing us to maximize the potential for forgiveness.

How many launches are being delayed or cancelled due to the COVID-19 slowdown?

  • We’re getting a few small hit-or-miss jobs, but are hearing that cancellations may be coming.
  • We are just starting to hear from customers that they are holding back. We have a good workload, and I’m getting quotes in, so it still feels pretty good. But I’m concerned that the quotes will stop coming in. it’s more of a gut feel, but I have heard from customers in the last week that they are holding off on spending.
  • We’re hearing the same thing from a couple launches we’re involved in – that the launches are getting backed off. These customers are waiting to see what the global economy does, because they get parts overseas, which will affect timing.

Are you still quoting a normal number of projects?

  • We are busy quoting right now in most areas.
  • We’re down approximately 15 to 20%.
  • Our shop is down approximately 40%, but we’re tied to automotive so it’s expected.
  • Quoting volume is only 70% of where we want to be over the last two weeks, but the more concerning thing is that our release jobs is only 30% to 40% of where we want it to be.
  • Our quoting is down significantly, but the quotes have a high capture rate – like 90%.
  • Quoting is up, but potential start dates have really moved out. Everything used to be two to three months, and now it’s four to six months.
  • We have a record quote book right now, but only $9,000 in orders last week. It’s a tale of two cities.
  • Our shop is down in quoting about 30%.

This sampling of perspectives from around the US provide mold builders the opportunity to benchmark their own facilities and evaluate best practices. To join the next AMBA webinar, visit