BEAVERTON, Oregon — It is hard to imagine there is a single company anywhere which has not been impacted by Covid-19. In Beaverton, Oregon, test instrument supplier TPI (Test Products International Inc.), is not unique; it is a small company with international footprint in the USA, Canada, and UK.
While business is down, contractors across the nation are still out there maintaining and repairing equipment essential to keeping homes and facilities safe and functioning. To safely continue supplying tools necessary for contractors to do that work, TPI has made some modifications to its business operations. Because TPI was an early adopter of allowing people to work from home, the modifications did not present a difficult transition or major disruption to business. The relatively small number of employees for the width and breadth of the operation also allowed for a greater level of agility and adaptability. Additionally, the strong “family” culture has helped coworkers be able to look out for one another in their unique wellness situations to limit unnecessary risks.
The owner and founder of TPI, J.P. Aleskus, who at 77 years young is still used to working 50-60 hours each week, found himself having to taper his schedule. Changing a work routine firmly established in his 50 years in the test instrument business wasn’t exactly easy. But this was one of the first changes set in motion. Aleskus instituted a staggered work schedule for those employees not able to perform their essential work from home. The shipping manager is the first in the building, the technical manager takes a mid-day shift, and Aleskus is the last in the building (all cleaning and disinfecting as they enter and before they exit). Sales, marketing, finance, and even product development would all be done from home offices. Employees already working from their homes in Illinois, Florida, and Montana were used to Skype calls, Zoom meetings, and the distractions that naturally exist in a home office setting. Now most employees are settled into a work-from-home life.
Like for many, this time has provided an opportunity to tackle the nagging projects, revise of how to be efficient and effective in serving the needs of today’s customers, and predict the needs of a changing workplace and industry. What new tools will contractors need to do their job safely, accurately, and affordably in this new world? That’s the question that keeps Aleskus and his team at TPI optimistically looking forward.
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