Despite facing hurricane-force winds, torrential rains, loss of power and an inability for employees to travel, Promotion in Motion (PIM) was able to restart production in its Somerset facility yesterday afternoon.
As President and CEO Michael Rosenberg explained to Candy Industry, the corporate offices in Allendale, N.J., as well as the production facilities in Somerset, N.J., had been shut down since Monday.
Fortunately, the two production facilities never lost power, although the company closed everything down Monday night when the weather “became so blatantly violent, that we then rapidly shut down production and implemented a full shut down of all our computers — ERP, everything — and sent everyone home as quickly as we could,” Rosenberg explains.
Power was restored to the company’s corporate headquarters this morning and the offices there were reopened.
“We are just operating with a skeleton crew, as most everyone is without power at home and has sustained damage to their residences of some sort,“ Rosenberg says. “Some have sustained serious flooding and with many roads still cut off from downed power lines, transformers and trees, also from flooding, traffic signals, which are not operational and scarce supplies of fuel, many of our 500+ person workforce cannot get to work.”
While production did start up at the second shift yesterday at the company’s Pierce St. facility, the ERP system did not become operational until this morning," Rosenberg says. Operating the plant without the ERP system was a challenge, he adds, and “they are still trying to get everything back in sync, with a skeleton crew.”
PIM also faces several other immediate challenges, he adds.
“Raw materials replacement is now becoming an issue,” Rosenberg points out. “Likewise, they are running out of space for finished goods as our nearby warehousing facility, which will not re-open until tomorrow at some point at the earliest, and it is making our already tight factory space even tighter.”
The chief executive is confident, however, that PIM will return to normal shortly.
“The net is we are hobbling along,” Rosenberg says. “The storm will have an impact, although it should be only brief, on deliveries of product as we rebound from all the disruption; same on the marketing, sales, administrative, purchasing/scheduling end. We will hopefully have this all behind us within the next seven to ten days.”
Meanwhile, another East Coast-based candy company also felt the effects of Sandy. Hershey’s Jeff Beckman says the impact was much less than anticipated for central Pennsylvania, where the company’s headquarters are located.
As a precaution, all of Hershey’s Pennsylvania facilities were closed Monday and Tuesday, but Beckman says the company did not sustain any significant damage to any of its facilities.