Press Release

Meeting with Clients During the Pandemic

Matt Walker VP Sales & Marketing

The way we meet with customers has changed during this pandemic but also improved. We are now meeting with customers exclusively online. Although I still prefer meeting in person, the web meeting format allows for a similar experience and has its advantages as well. This venue allows for more data sharing and more time spent with the customer without worrying about when you need to leave to catch your plane. I am sure that when this is all behind us, business travel will increase. I do not think it will ever get back to what it was. Some sort of hybrid of in-person and online meetings seems to be in our future.

When talking to a client, several factors must now be considered at the beginning of a conversation as opposed to the end. The pandemic has increased demand for food and grocery items but is that a symptom of consumers stocking up or of those consumers spending more time at home? This is an important distinction because it will inform you of whether this demand level will remain constant or drop off after a period. It is critical to us that we inform our customers with the best data possible. The problem right now is, there is not sufficient evidence to confidently make a conclusion.

Navigating competing information seems to be the norm for 2020 overall, but when retailers or brand owners are making decisions, unnecessary risks can spell disaster. While we steer through this unprecedented time, we utilize market data along with common sense to ensure we are guiding our customers in the right direction. Even more important than in the past, it is crucial the customer is aware of risks in the supply chain. There is a myriad of factors that can affect the outcome of what we agree to. We must ensure everyone is completely on the same page so there are no surprises further down the line. Although this is a normal process, the uncertainty we face has heightened the responsibility of manufacturers to inform customers of all risks, no matter how small, and any unknowns, no matter how unimportant they seem.

We are optimistic about the future. We know that these tough times will pass. They always do. Success depends on cooler heads making logical decisions and building a long-term successful plan.

Press Release

Procuring and producing in the age of COVID-19

Amy Potter, VP of Operations

Like many companies, Trailblazer Foods hoped that the COVID-19 pandemic would end within next few months and things would go back to normal. Although with trends suggesting we are going to be affected by the pandemic for much longer, many aspects of manufacturing will now have to be considered the ‘new normal’.  Unlike several organizations who have seen a drastic reduction in work since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Trailblazer Foods is continuing to meet demand driven by the pandemic.  As a manufacturer of food products, we are tasked with continuing to help keep shelves full and make sure every household has access to basic necessities. We are, however, experiencing some disruptions across our supply chain and raw materials, driven by what may now become recurring volatility of supply.  For example, we have seen many supply chain disruptions with our overseas glass suppliers. All interruptions we are seeing are direct results of the COVID-19 pandemic.  To minimize volatility for our customers, we have identified continuity risks and any single points of failure.  We are constantly communicating with our critical suppliers to ensure we have plans to respond to constant changes in demand.  While the procurement function is measured by cost savings, obtaining supplies at the lowest cost possible, within specified quality parameters.  With the pandemic and resorting to extraordinary measures to secure supplies on time, higher costs are necessary burden for the organization.

COVID-19 pandemic will have long-lasting implications for the future of manufacturing.  Manufacturers will have to look closely at their end-to-end operations to assess and respond to future disruptions with greater speed. Managing risks to ensure business continuity by anticipating potential changes well ahead of fluctuations to enable rapid, fact-based actions. The most critical focus is to keep employees safe in an environment where COVID-19 are persistent threats. While times may continue to be uncertain, I think we can safely assume we have weathered the current storm and are prepared for any pandemic related challenges that come our way.

Press Release

Our response to the COVID-19 global pandemic

Portland, Oregon, September 16, 2020.

Rob Miller, CEO and President

Like most companies around the world, the COVID-19 global pandemic has affected Trailblazer Foods. We have had to rewrite our playbook and rethink how we work day-to-day. In the early stages of the pandemic and before the stay at home orders and the workplace restrictions, we decided to start strategizing on how our business, and more importantly, our people would be affected. Our HR department spent time researching the data available and listening to health experts to find the appropriate responses. As a food production company, having our products remain available for consumers was essential.

As the crisis accelerated and restrictions became widespread, we reduced the number of visitors allowed in the office and transitioned some employees to telecommunication to reduce the amount of contact we have with each other. We instituted new policies including mandatory masks and social distancing. We also implemented a heightened sanitation process, cleaning doorknobs and work surfaces at regular intervals throughout the day. Communication became more important than ever before. Consistent discussions around safety measures and our incredible coworkers taking a more active role in protecting themselves became second nature. We formed a COVID response team that meets regularly to ensure we find any gaps and reminds the teams to adhere to safety protocols. All these policies remain in effect today.

While there are still many things that remain uncertain with this virus, we continue to provide our partners and consumers with the quality and service they expect. It is not time to let up on restrictions or added safety measures to protect our staff and our customers. We will be steadfast in maintaining the highest-level safety with the guidance of health experts and local leaders. Every day brings new challenges amid the pandemic, but we are determined to come out of this stronger and more ready for any challenge that might face us in the future.

Trailblazer Foods would like to thank all our employees for adapting and rising to the challenge. We also thank the countless healthcare providers working on the front-line trying to bring an end to the COVID-19 pandemic.