Tom Forsythe, Executive VP
KYZEN Corporation
Nashville, TN, USA

Have you figured out what your “new normal” is yet? The world we live in is a different place than it was New Year’s Day 2020.

For millions of us, yes millions, the new normal is being unemployed, which is horrible and at skyrocketing numbers that have not been seen since the 1930’s…if ever. The new normal is also practicing social distancing with everyone, sometimes even the people living in our homes. Virtual reality has become reality for schools, churches and even doctor visits. The handshake has been replaced by elbow bumps and don’t even think about hugs!

For millions more, those in the healthcare industry, there is a big range of what the new normal looks like. Hospital staff in New York and other hot spots are clearly deep in the fight. Trying to save lives with “MacGyver” type ingenuity using a bandana and Swiss Army knife instead of a surgical mask and scalpel. Then, there are the healthcare people far from the hot spots. These are the folks who would usually be providing “routine care,” and who are now part of those millions of people now unemployed. That’s because routine care is mostly “on hold.” You know things are tough to figure out when healthcare workers are laid off during a pandemic.

There is a lot less traffic on the roads, meaning nearly no traffic. And those of us fortunate enough to still have jobs have our own new normal to figure out. Unlike the healthcare professionals dealing with crowds and teams of experts saving lives, many of us are in a far different situation. Our new normal centers on Microsoft Teams or Zoom meetings. We are not racing with a crash cart to someone in need, we are sitting at a small writing table or maybe the kitchen table which is now our new office. Our home ISP is absolutely our lifeline to our colleagues and customers. We are wearing headphones to drown out the noise of the dog rather than the drone of an aircraft engine while in flight, but we still have bad hair when they come off.

As for KYZEN, we are not in the business of saving lives…at least not directly. We do supply many customers who manufacture life-saving devices for medical professionals on the front lines, but we are far back in the shadows. We are the supply line that no one sees or thinks about, until it runs dry. That is why, here at KYZEN we never run dry. We always have inventory and supply lines feeding that inventory.

Those supply lines, and the suppliers that make them happen, are themselves essential manufacturers. That is why we stay close to our suppliers. We work hard to stay VERY informed about our critical sources, as many of you do for yours. Of course, we already had a lesson in the intricacies of supply lines over the past 2-3 years as we learned to live with the new tariffs. Things got a little strange at times, and we found that the time and energy we invested in understanding those supply chains served us well. We adapted and increased the resilience of our supply chains over the past 18 months.

KYZEN continues to ship product during the pandemic without limitations or allocations. We can do that because our Operations Team is world class end to end: from procurement, to warehousing, to production and shipping, our team is getting it done. They are staying safe and are being supported by our suppliers and logistics partners. We need the police and military to keep us safe, and the few planes flying need reliable equipment to get to their destinations safely. Thankfully, that means many people need KYZEN and for that we are grateful.

Looking around my suburban neighborhood and our offices, I have come to appreciate that our big, complex and messy world has not really come to a stop. Not a full stop anyway, the restaurants are trying to make delivery options attractive and pay their bills, the grocery stores really are trying to stock toilet paper, and the teachers are somehow trying to teach kids from age 6 to 26 remotely. While many retail shops have closed, the grocery stores and delivery outfits are trying to hire people. The governments of the world are trying their own solutions to  try to help the rest of us, lots of different ideas and techniques are under way. We all certainly hope that those ideas and techniques actually help those that are most at risk, because so many people are at risk and need that help.

Clearly, there is not one new normal, but many millions of them. Some are far more critical and important, but we each have our role to play as we try to help this crazy world of ours keep spinning. Whatever your new normal looks like stay safe and remember that we are all in this together.