ISM and Ford Step up to The Challenge to Save Lives

ISM’s ‘Respiratory Task Force’

[Englewood, CO]: For Industrial Specialties Mfg. (ISM), 2020 began just like any other year. People celebrated as they watched the ball drop in Times Square with delight and thunderous cheers. They toasted, hugged, and set New Year’s resolutions. But little did anyone know that a dark storm was brewing in Wuhan that would spread across the globe and change our lives and the way we look at the world forever.

An Unforeseen Global Crisis

In the early days of the pandemic, this sudden unforeseen crisis challenged every aspect of our daily lives. We plunged deeper into uncertainty. People were dying. Business-as-usual was unrecognizable. Storefronts were closed, and only the essential businesses were allowed to operate at minimum capacity.

Ventilators in Short Supply

The epidemic was a highly emotional issue, as the lives of friends and loved ones were on the line. Ventilators were crucial in keeping the severely ill COVID-19 patients alive -- but hospitals across the country were facing a critical shortage of these life-saving medical devices amid the rapidly spreading and unpredictable pandemic.

In the initial period of confusion of this global crisis, ISM sales representative, Ryan Webber, connected with an ambitious and determined Ford Purchasing Manager searching for resourceful means to get the required components to assemble these must-have ventilators. This engagement would lead to ISM’s involvement with the Ford Project.

Together ISM and Ford established unique avenues to mass-produce medical equipment, utilize existing materials and resources, and deliver these imperative medical supplies and finished products at a full-throttle speed.

The Respiratory Task Force is Born

At this time, the Ford Motor Company had just signed an executive contract with FEMA to manufacture and supply 50,000 vital ventilators across the country. With other pneumatic fittings vendors, ISM joined forces with Ford Motor Company to build and deliver these lifesaving machines.

It was an all-hands-on-deck response to the desperate and the immediate need for these critical machines, and ISM was up for the strenuous challenge. ISM was face-to-face with a demanding task, as they had multiple suppliers to deal with, little to no lead time, an immense quantity of parts, and a looming deadline. At this juncture, ISM developed the ‘Respiratory Task Force’ that consisted of every branch of the business, from purchasing to shipping.

To stay on task logistically, the team had to meet daily and work tirelessly, as the heavyweight of saving lives rested on their shoulders. Ford had committed to building 50,000 ventilators, and ISM was an integral part of this plan. Lives were on the line, and failure was not an option.

Creativity and Resourcefulness in a Crunch

During the second phase of this mission, ISM supplied around 17 different essential parts to Ford Motor Company. One of these parts, they simply knew that they could not provide. But that fact did not hinder ISM; they found a way to meet this demand, pulling together and engineering the part themselves.

Times were hectic. With most of ISM’s employees working from home, their warehouse workers had to work tirelessly to handle the mass volume of parts required for this project. Numerous adjustments had to be made to quickly source significant quantities of products that they typically didn’t stock in inventory.

All eyes were locked on Ford. The heat was on ISM to produce and deliver these parts on time or risk nearly 1,000 factory workers unable to do their jobs. ISM’s vendors and partners prioritized these parts and, to save time, shipped them directly to Ford. As a result, maintaining clear communication around delivery dates and times was a huge obstacle to overcome. The team communicated with Ford daily about the parts needed to keep their production lines open.

Crossing the Finish Line - 50,000 Ventilators Shipped

By the end of July, Ford had produced about 40,000 ventilators with another 10,000 to go. With more than $1.8 million worth of product than initially had been expected, everyone was feeling the heat as the anticipated contractual obligations from FEMA were at hand.

The dust eventually settled in September as ISM made their last shipment. And due to their exceptional relationship and the monumental trust generated with Ford, shipped literally thousands and thousands of different parts, both plastic and metal fittings along with valves, all on time and properly packaged without any quality or delivery issues. The project was a complete success. And a deep sense of pride and relief waved over the team.

In a time of fear and uncertainty, the ISM team pulled together and did what seemed impossible. As a team, they stepped up, and, as one of their partners at Ford mentioned in a ‘thank you’ email, ISM used their “unique skills to quickly scale production and deliver much-needed medical supplies and equipment in significant numbers. Giving back is the heart and soul of Ford Motor Company.” This is also the heart and soul of ISM.

Susanna Anderson
Industrial Specialties Mfg. (ISM)
+1-303-781-8486 Ext. 347

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