Meeting Customer Needs During Challenging Times

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted every industry around the world, from retail and hospitality to textiles and industrial manufacturing. The transportation industry was no exception.

In March, automakers around the world quickly closed their manufacturing facilities to minimize the spread of the virus. American automakers such as Ford and General Motors, as well as foreign manufacturers like Honda, Toyota, and Fiat, all closed their plants, leaving employees without jobs and vendors without customers. Even the largest truck builders weren’t immune to the effects of the virus; PACCAR, Daimler, and Navistar all closed their production facilities in response.

The industry-wide closures massively affected the automotive supply chain from plastics and polymers to drive train and engine components. As the transportation community closed their doors, many of the manufacturers in the supply chain closed their doors as well.

While much of the industry returned to production in June and July, most limited their staffing and build rates while determining how to mitigate health risks. By late summer, manufacturers enacted safe production practices and the industry began to recover.

One of Brentwood’s long-time automotive customers was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. After many months of being shut down, they began to increase their build schedule to meet the increased demand. By August, they exceeded historical demands, some representing a 40% increase above standard production levels.

“Despite considerable headwinds, we [Brentwood] were able to respond quickly,” said Walter Banta, Vice President of Operations at Brentwood. “We used our supply chain expertise to dynamically manage our vendors, inventories, and staff to satisfy unprecedented production demands.”

Brentwood was able to maintain most of its workforce throughout the pandemic, but with the uptick in orders, we needed to add to our workforce to meet demand. By reaching out to the local community with employment opportunities amid the global crisis, we were able to meet the record demand in production for September.

As the global economy recovers, Brentwood remains committed to leveraging industry-leading insight and innovation to ensure that both our valued customers and new business partners receive the products and services they need to recover from the effects of the pandemic.

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