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42 PCB007 MAGAZINE I AUGUST 2020 Feature by Kevin Jobsky ICM CONTROLS Stroll out onto the manufacturing floor at ICM Controls, and it appears to be business as usual. The bustling activity of employees and the sounds of their voices reaching out over the constant hum of the board shop and as- sembly equipment is a clear indicator that pro- duction is in full swing at the facility in North Syracuse, New York. Take a closer look, however, and you'll re- alize the many subtle changes implemented throughout the factory from just a few short months ago that serve as a constant reminder of how the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the workplace and how business is done—pos- sibly forever. Workers now don masks, and an attempt has clearly been made to space people out to meet social distancing guidelines—not an easy task in a manufacturing facility designed for work- er efficiency. Separation barriers have been in- stalled between work areas to limit exposure to each other. Sanitizing stations and floor stick- ers adorn the hallways, with notices on the Navigating the Challenges of the New Normal walls that remind us all to avoid touching our face area and to stay six feet apart. Even be- fore employees leave home for work, they are asked to check their temperatures and to not come in if they show signs of a fever. Welcome to the new normal. Fortunately for ICM Controls, a captive shop turned contract manufacturer at the onset of the pandemic, the company was declared to be essential and allowed to remain operation- al early on by New York State—albeit with restrictions on the number of employees that could physically be in the building at any one time. Being able to keep our doors open af- forded us the luxury to prepare ourselves and our facility in real-time, giving us a head start over others that had to wait to reopen their doors. Even so, a multitude of challenges still lays ahead—more far-reaching than sourcing hand sanitizers and masks—that ICM Controls must successfully navigate if it hopes to come out on the other side of this pandemic with only a handful of minor battle scars. Undoubtedly, there are many companies—large and small— that will not be so fortunate.

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