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Hidden Supply Chain Heroes
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Hidden Supply Chain Heroes

April 22, 2020

We have seen a lot of changes to the economy over the decades we have been operational, but nothing has shaken things as quickly and as thoroughly as COVID-19. This pandemic has drastically changed the way all of us live and work. We are left with more questions than answers as to what makes for life-sustaining businesses or essential operations; a debate we feel deeply in the metal fabrication business, where our work is vital to keep life-sustaining businesses operational, but it is hidden within the links of the supply chain. Under normal circumstances, we are happy to quietly contribute to life-sustaining businesses through our quality metal fabrication. But in a world where silent contributors might be told to stay home, we’re giving you an inside view into some of the ways we help essential companies keep going.

Critical RTO and Ductwork Fabrication

Constantia Flexibles is considered an essential business, providing products to the food, hygiene, and pharmaceutical industries. Their plastic film packaging is used in hundreds of applications, like salad dressing containers, snack bags, meat packaging, and even cleaning wipes. The process used in making their products emits volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) which need to be remediated by a regenerative thermal oxidizer (RTO).

Due to recent growth, the South Carolina-based factory is expanding. The expansion required their existing RTO to be moved to a new location. They also needed to purchase an additional RTO, ductwork fabrication, and installation. This project was purchased from Durr/Megtec, who in turn purchased them from GSM Industrial.

Without these components fabricated by GSM Industrial, Constantia’s essential operations would be affected, limiting or eliminating their ability to provide others with critical products.

Links of the Chain Connect Through Contracts

To complete the ductwork for Durr/Megtec and Constantia, we need to buy metal from Phoenix Metals, which is part of Reliance Steel who sources from mills like Nucur.

Nucor is in the middle of a plant expansion project in the Midwest. To continue supplying companies like Phoenix Metals (and then GSM Industrial) with galvanized sheet, they contract Andritz to supply necessary equipment.

Andritz hires GSM Industrial to fabricate equipment for the continuous galvanizing line.

Links of the Chain Connect Through People

Taking care of the people who serve this critical supply chain means making sure they have everything they need to complete the job, including a satisfying brown-bagged lunch. The employees at all of these companies may be eating their sandwich made with Boars Head roast turkey for example.

Before these turkey sandwiches could be made, the lunch meat was first purchased at the local grocery store. The employees at the local Giant or Wegmans removed the turkey from Constantia flexible packaging to slice it up for you and me. And before being shipped to the store, the wrapped turkey was placed in a box by a robotic pick and place system that is supplied to Boars Head by JLS. JLS buys the frame to support the robots from GSM Industrial.

The Chain Goes On

Ready for a few more links in the chain? The truck that carries the plastic to the lunchmeat factory and the turkey to grocery store likely started with a Deka battery. Deka batteries are manufactured by East Penn Manufacturing outside Reading, PA, who depends on GSM Industrial ductwork to keep their employees safe.

The plastic used by Constantia to make the packaging film may have been transported and cleaned by Pelletron equipment, which was made right here at GSM Industrial’s fab shop.

The patchwork quilt that keeps this economy going is filled with hardworking, production-based businesses like ours. COVID-19 has given us the chance to stop and take note of the number of ways our employees are indirectly ensuring those on the front-lines can continue to deliver products and services our communities need to fight this pandemic. We at GSM Industrial would like to thank all of the companies and employees who make up the quiet heroes who keep the supply chains moving, doing what they can to be a part of the solution to this unprecedented time.