MF Supply Expands to New Markets Thanks to NJMEP Support

Information and Collaboration Create a New PPE Supplier

Background

MF Supply is a stocking distributor, they are sourcing experts, and a supply chain partner to business, industry, and government. The company specializes in fasteners, hardware, and recently expanded to a new market, safety supplies including Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Supplying industries including, Aerospace prime and subcontractors; OEMs of Instrumentation, Equipment, and Machines; Architectural metal and glass; Sheet metal fabrication and contract manufacturers; Lighting, Furniture, Elevators; Machine shops; make MF Supply a critical part of the complex supply chain.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced local governments all over the United States to begin mandating businesses deemed ‘non-essential’ to shut down. Many state governments oversaw the selection of which manufacturing companies should be considered essential. This proved disastrous. All manufacturing is essential, especially in the case of a pandemic. Closing a manufacturing plant that a government official deemed ‘non-essential’ would cause a domino effect that impacts an untold number of other manufacturers up and downstream.

Challenge

At the very beginning of the pandemic, factual information was difficult to come by. Business leaders were being bombarded by executive order after executive order. Oftentimes, these executive orders seemed to contradict themselves or provided sets of guidelines without any specific details.

Fear and uncertainty surrounding the manufacturing industry during the first couple weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic created a challenging business landscape for MF Supply. They were fearful that their business would close, and they couldn’t find the information on the executive orders that were being released each day.

Massive delays in securing PPE was threatening MF Supply’s ability to provide New Jersey manufacturers with the PPE they needed to remain open during the pandemic.

There was very little guidance about how best to reopen and keep employees safe. MF Supply was finding it challenging to find accurate information and guidance about the safest way to keep their facility operational and to support their customers’ safety & PPE related needs.

Solution

Immediately upon discovering that businesses were going to be shut down by state government, NJMEP sprang into action. NJMEP is not a lobbying group, but advocacy is a large portion of the business’s efforts. By bringing together the New Jersey manufacturing community to highlight the importance of keeping all manufacturing open in the state, the Governor ultimately allowed these businesses to continue operating.

To address the misinformation that was prevalent during the first few weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, NJMEP made it a mission to examine, review, and summarize the governor’s executive orders. These summaries were reviewed by NJMEP affiliate attorneys then shared with every manufacturer NJMEP could reach. Only the facts were provided.

Developing the Return to Work & Recovery Guide allows New Jersey businesses to reference a single standard for best practices and suggestions on how to protect their employees while continuing to work.

MF Supply filled out NJMEP’s COVID-19 Supply Chain form to connect with New Jersey manufacturers that can supply PPE and identify companies in need of PPE. NJMEP created this database to help ensure the New Jersey supply chain continues forward. Suppliers like MF Supply were able to source materials and develop new connections during the pandemic to help alleviate the disruptions caused by COVID-19. The information and connection made allowed MF Supply to help support the nation’s efforts in combating this terrible disease by securing PPE and supplying New Jersey manufacturers with these essential products.

Results

MF Supply relied heavily on the accurate and timely information NJMEP provided once the pandemic began. The support and information that was made available allowed the supplier to penetrate the PPE market and expand their business.

NJMEP was able to provide the following benefits to MF Supply:

  • Retained Sales: $100,000 +
  • New Sales: $500,000 +
  • Retained Employees: 5
  • New Employees: 2

“Our business has grown and added headcount by pivoting directions. A lot of that happened, frankly, because of the information we received from NJMEP,” Robin Lieberman, President, MF Supply explained.

Robin continued, “It’s a whole different business for us now. We really weren’t in the safety space but since March we’ve been in it. Supplying certified and compliant products is something we have been doing for years, so it was natural product extension for us. We are extremely proud to help industry stay safe & stay open!”

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