By: Barry Levine, Founder & CEO Sperry West.
Almost since the beginning of Covid-19, we (Sperry West) have been maintaining a hybrid work concept. Office personnel work mostly from home, but spend one or two days a week in our office. Technical personnel only work from home on a limited basis, where they handle email and phone requests for tech assistance. Everyone understands that we need to change the days worked and where, depending upon our order flow. Finance is also done as part office & part home. Billing, arranging for shipping and related duties, are only done with our factory/office.
I believe that most companies that are doing hybrid work of splitting time between home and office, may be doing so with all good intentions of keeping people safe. However, I will admit to another motivating factor. Ever since the inception of the spread of Covid-19, we have been aware of a diminishing sales volume of our covert video security cameras. We believe that this is due to several reasons. Since the covert cameras that we make are almost always used to aid in catching criminals, fewer people working simply translates to fewer people committing crimes. Less theft, vandalism & other crimes, that may frequently occur in locations that traditionally employ a lot of people and may also normally have a high volume of visitors, as well as theft.
Another factor affecting sales is simply that so many businesses have been forced to close and so many others are just hanging on and expenditures for non-essential products is out of the question. Fortunately, many businesses, including ours, have been helped by SBA and other Covid related loans. We are grateful for this government funded assistance.
Covid-19 as well as the Delta Variant have created “a perfect storm”, just at a time when fewer people were taking precautions as they thought that this horrendous disease was going away. The world has not experienced a time like this in more than one hundred years. The devastation wrought by Covid to the business community, is as bad as in 1929 and the start of the world-wide economic depression. Can we compare Covid-19 and its variants to the Black Plague? I think we can, particularly in the early stages, when so many people may have been mistreated with ventilators and did not survive or suffered from the side effects of the ventilators.
We used most of our government funding to purchase assembly parts for our TEMPCAM™ products. These are body temperature alerting infrared system cameras. Sales started off strong for these products, but as soon as people thought that COVID-19 was going away, sales declined. Our particular body temperature cameras are among the most accurate and easiest to use, so some locations have many in use. We have learned that people enjoy the quick process of seeing themselves in the monitor, which is part of the system. As employees & visitors see themselves, the camera, using its German made, highly accurate sensor, instantly measures their body temperature and most of the time, passes them as safe. It will announce an alert for elevated temperature and if programmed, will also send an alert to a smartphone. The TEMPCAM does not diagnose the reason for elevated temperature, which may or may not indicate the presence of a disease.
As sales declined for temperature alerting cameras, our company had a problem. We had miscalculated the anticipated sales volume and over-stocked TEMPCAM products. So what is a solution? Sperry West devised a new system of combining TEMPCAM’S with other safety products, to enable us to market total business safety kits. As businesses re-open, they can use our body temperature alerting cameras with a first aid kit, containing OSHA/ANSI government recommended products, as well as a blood pressure tester, an oximeter, a manual no-touch thermometer to use as a secondary tester for confirmation of elevated temperature, a powerful LED small flashlight and other non-prescription items. The entire system, known as SW6150KIT, is supplied in a re-usable duffel bag. A table-top stand for the TEMPCAM is also supplied with the new kit, although the camera/monitor can be wall mounted as well.
While our team understands the need for what we have been doing as a result of Covid-19 and it absolutely helps our company, we have learned of one downside, which is clearly indicating that we need to return to traditional office/factory work as soon as is prudently possible, Manufacturing is much more efficient when office management people are present to assist technical people by creating priorities, and making sure that orders are properly addressed and shipped. At Sperry West, we expect to return to a more traditional business model in the future, with the probable exception of financial employees and a few others who may continue splitting time between home & office.