Leggett & Platt employees have been able to apply their sourcing expertise to procure important supplies and help keep employees safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. On a typical day, our Corporate Procurement Department is responsible for strategic procurement of raw materials for operations. They conduct feed stock cost tracking, negotiate contracts, and provide projections of material costs for our business units. “Our primary role has been assurance of supply, so a branch is never shut down due to a lack of raw materials,” says Dave Church, Staff Vice President of Procurement.
As the pandemic took hold, they adapted their mission to include additional efforts to protect our employees around the world. “Our leaders are implementing very important health protocols within our branches,” says Dave. “We’re working to support them with all the personal protective equipment (PPE) they need.”
Jeff Vaughn, Senior Commodity Manager, prepares PPE shipments for delivery.
When the pandemic began in late January, Corporate Procurement began sourcing masks and other PPE for branches on a local level. They met early requests by working with L&P’s global network of preferred supply companies. Unfortunately, shortages quickly became an issue.
After reconsidering their process, Dave determined it was necessary to centralize ordering to ensure ongoing availability, and we’ve been able to supply our essential workers with vital equipment during an extremely uncertain time. The team has been ordering general purpose masks, disinfectants, alcohol wipes, gloves, face shields, hand sanitizer, and non-touch thermometers. Long-standing relationships with a diverse range of manufacturing suppliers have allowed the team to purchase the items directly, keeping costs competitive.
Dave Church and Vanessa Gile, Commodity Specialist, have adjusted well to working from home. The system Corporate Purchasing has implemented allows the team to source supplies, forecast supply needs, field incoming PPE requests, complete order paperwork, and manage incoming and outgoing shipments from remote locations.
Bulk orders are delivered to Carthage, Missouri, where the team fills and ships requested supplies directly to each facility. “Branch 0001 in Carthage has generously provided us with storage space near a bay door for incoming shipments,” says Dave. “We’ve even borrowed a few offices from remotely working employees for packing the shipments.”
Almost 500 PPE packages have been shipped to L&P facilities around the world in the past two months. The entire team is proud of the work that they’re doing — most of the recent shipments have gone to support facilities reopening their doors.
“I’m proud to say that we’ve never had to tell a branch we can’t help,” says Dave. “Even when dealing with shortages, we’ve found alternatives to meet the PPE needs within our branches. Our employees are doing an important job, and we are honored to help them stay safe.”