Since its inception more than 50 years ago, LPS Industries has been known for its innovative philosophy. Serving key industry niches such as the Agri-Chemical, Medical Flexible Packaging, Food and Snacks, and Pet Food, the company has been recognized for their ability to quickly shift when necessary in order to address evolving market demands. 

Under the leadership of second generation family owner Madeleine Robinson, the company has flourished by reinforcing a culture of change. For five decades they have remained steadfastly committed to embracing agility, flexibility and an unorthodox approach, gaining them recognition as leaders in their field. 

That innovative vision is exactly why they were so highly regarded for their willingness and ability to pivot when COVID-19 struck. 

While the crisis was wreaking havoc across the country, and most especially in New Jersey, LPS was racking up an impressive list of successful accomplishments that lead to their sustainability.    

Implementing the First Step 

As early as February they adopted an aggressive approach to ensuring their position as an “essential manufacturer” while other businesses were caught flat-footed and poorly prepared to implement significant changes. But it was being an early adopter and embracing these changes that would set the stage for LPS’ success in the months ahead. 

Unlike other companies that adopted a wait-and-see approach, at LPS they worked closely with suppliers to ensure they would not face the supply chain disruptions that so many other companies experienced.  One major move was the decision to increase their raw material requirements to be ready for a critical uptick in orders.  As a business practice, loading up on raw materials has the down side of temporarily increasing the inventories, but at the same time, Madeleine and her advisors knew this was the best way to insure their ability to provide needed products to other essential manufacturers. 

Gaining an Accurate Financial Picture is Step Two 

Because the healthcare industry was profoundly impacted by the virus, LPS Industries prioritized their production scheduling for medical products, especially if they were relatable to COVID-19 needs. To do this, they spoke with their external and internal advisors to utilize cash flow analysis, forecasting tools and other predicative analysis and projections to be well-positioned to address any situations as they arise. 

Consistent Communication is Critical 

 Knowing that communication is one of the essential keys to good business practices, the leadership team immediately kicked into high gear to establish effective platforms for sharing insights, trends, concerns, and ideas with employees, vendors and customers as well as with other colleagues in the business community in an honest and transparent manner. Madeleine and her management group understood that being frank and fair would instill the trust and respect that would enable them to continue their mission in an efficient and effective manner. 

As such, they drafted and sent an e-blast in February, well ahead of the curve of awareness building in the United States about the pandemic, to thousands of database contacts which included customers, suppliers and trade associations. In that e-blast they stated they were fully operational with no supply chain issues. Because they repeated weekly e-blasts to educate customers on the rapidly changing manufacturing environment, they were able to provide quick turnaround service for medical and food and industrial packaging in a way that others could not. 

Insights Gained: Lessons Learned 

Internally, from the top down, at LPS their willingness to embrace change enabled them to rapidly adjust corporate policies and enforcements to comply with Federal, CDC, and State orders and guidelines to ensure proper protocols for a safe workplace.  

Most importantly, the CEO demonstrated a sincere concern through actions and words. These actions included written, verbal and other types of acknowledgements thanking employees for their dedication and acceptance of necessary changes. Actions that clearly emphasized the genuine commitment from ownership and senior managers  included instituting a reasonable and safe protocol such as physically distancing employee office and work stations; flexible start and break times; wearing of masks and gloves; having an on-site thermometer for employees; remote video and audio conferencing to replace in-person group meetings; and temporary “no visitor” policy to their facilities as well as buying lunches twice a week for the employees while instituting daily monitoring from direct reports for attendance and any other possible COVID-19 issues related to company business operations.