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Ohio Manufacturer's Investments Pay Off During Crisis

Smart purchasing and culture improvement strategies help ventilator supplier meet challenging demands.

Inspection Robin
Bullen Ultrasonics

Eaton, Ohio-based Bullen Ultrasonics has made the decision to keep its doors open during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. And medical facilities around the country are grateful. 

The contract manufacturer in southwestern Ohio makes parts for various life-saving devices, including ventilators, which continue to be in high demand as the virus spreads. “Bullen is committed to following the governor’s employee safety mandates while continuing to do our part for the greater good,” states Bullen President Tim Beatty. 

Founded in 1971, the privately-owned contract manufacturer’s ultrasonic machining capabilities allow it to make small and precise cuts in unique and advanced materials. These parts are then used to produce key components for the pressure sensors found in ventilators. In addition to medical devices, Bullen also supplies parts to Department of Defense contractors, which are also considered essential during the pandemic. This includes aircraft engine and semiconductor components. 

“Bullen has limited raw material requirements, as the majority of our material is customer-supplied,” offers Beatty when asked about any supply chain disruptions. “A few months ago, we had concerns about sourcing materials from China, and increased our purchases and inventory to adjust accordingly. Due to this foresight, we have not had any delivery issues.” 

The company also points to a couple of key investments that have allowed for maintaining production levels and standards. “We spent most of 2019 focusing on automation, improving cross training, upgrading our quality system, and taking steps to enhance our IT infrastructure. All of these initiatives have paid dividends during this time,” offers Beatty. 

Bullen has also spent much of the last three years focused on improving company culture, with a focus on reinforcing communication and trust within each team. “During times of stress, like this period, these types of initiatives have created an ability to have honest conversations with one another. We have been able to directly address the fear present inside and outside the company,” he states. 

While Bullen’s foresight and recent internal investments are delivering immeasurable returns, the company is not immune to the external factors impacting all facets of society. “The nature of our work has always driven us to have a healthy and clean facility, but we are enforcing extra measures in light of the pandemic to further prioritize employees’ health and well-being,” states Beatty. 

Additional steps include temperature checks for each employee as they report to work, a new touchless clock-in system, and through sanitization of the facility twice per shift. Office staff has also been splitting their time in working in the office and from home in following social distancing protocols. 

The “new normal” now prominent throughout the U.S. carries a number of day-to-day uncertainties. However, there is some reassurance to be found in plants like Bullen Ultrasonics, and their efforts to support the fight against a pandemic by doing what they’ve always done so well. 

If you work for or know of a U.S. manufacturer, distributor or logistics provider combating the challenges of COVID-19, let us know by emailing Jeff Reinke at [email protected]  

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