Lexicon CEO discusses manufacturing challenges in COVID-19 pandemic

by Roby Brock ([email protected]) 982 views 

With COVID-19 impacting all sectors of the U.S. economy, manufacturing has been one industry with its fair share of struggles. There have been essential services required to stay in business during the pandemic, while others have been shut down.

Lexicon Construction and Fabrication offers a range of industrial manufacturing services including construction management, fabrication, erection, mechanical installation, and plant maintenance for heavy industrial, commercial, and roadway projects, as well as a full spectrum of golf course construction and management services.

Patrick Schueck, President and CEO of Lexicon, discussed the changes of the last few months with Talk Business & Politics.

Q: What are some of the unique challenges large-scale manufacturers like Lexicon Fabricators and Constructors have faced during the coronavirus pandemic?

Patrick Schueck: Much of our work requires close contact so it’s essential we follow screening procedures, require face coverings and set strict hygiene guidelines, particularly among field crews. We have implemented disinfection protocols for tools, equipment, vehicles and offices. Most importantly, we have focused on establishing clear lines of communication, with daily toolbox talks, videos, signs and safety stand downs to help prevent employees from worrying and getting distracted on the job.

Q: As the economy reopens, what internal protocols will you put in place to keep employees and clients safe?

Schueck: People, quality and safety come first at Lexicon. That’s why we will continue to wear masks, monitor temperatures and educate employees about health guidelines. We have adjusted shifts, breaks, lunch periods and clock-in and clock-out procedures to minimize gatherings. We continue to reorganize our traditional plant workflows to ensure proper distancing. We feel confident we have strong controls in place to protect our team at work. Our biggest challenge is when they enter the outside world, where some Arkansans have become complacent because they feel “over it.”

Q: American manufacturers have provided ventilators, PPE and other essential supplies to help the U.S. weather this international health crisis. What role do you see manufacturing playin in rebuilding the economy?

Schueck: Lexicon supports critical manufacturing sectors the U.S. Department of Homeland Security considers vital to our country’s safety. We are proud to be part of the “Brotherhood of Essential Workers,” and we are fortunate to have the opportunity to help build America every day. Whether it’s hospitals, steel mills, bridges or world-championship golf courses, Lexicon will continue to push Arkansas’ and our nation’s economy forward by providing high-quality jobs in a safe work environment. I won’t say it’s not tough work. But it’s a hell of a good time and rewarding, to boot.

Q: Lexicon recently created metal brackets for protective face shields for Central Arkansas hospitals. Are you still making those? How did your company handle that quick shift in production?

Schueck: Lexicon’s Custom Metals HVAC division is full of incredible craftsmen. They’re experienced, nimble and can build anything — no matter the timeline or the complexity. After our conversation with the Little Rock Regional Chamber, we took them sketches, and they quickly developed a prototype. Within two days, they had entered full production to help Arkansas medical providers on the front lines of the battle against COVID-19. We manufactured 4,000 brackets to meet the immediate need in Central Arkansas. If more support is needed in the future, we’ll be ready to lend a hand. We will always do what we need to do to fulfill our commitment to putting people, quality and safety first. This project was a no-brainer.