With its headquarters positioned in central New Jersey and in close proximity to New York City, the LIXIL Americas team is centered in the area of the country hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic — and its dedicated team immediately set out to help.
Knowing there was an urgent need for PPE in the medical community, LIXIL’s team began brainstorming ways it could help alleviate that pain point for workers on the front lines. Its engineering team developed a creative solution that allowed LIXIL to repurpose the 3D printers and packaging equipment at its R&D facility in Piscataway, New Jersey to make much-needed face shields. Despite challenges including limited hours of operation at its R&D center, sourcing of supplies and resources and reduced staffing, LIXIL was able to ramp up production and assembly of the face shields to make about 120 shields per week through its team of employee volunteers.
Distribution of the face shields started as a grassroots effort. Team members searched Facebook community groups in the New York and New Jersey area and made phone calls to locate people in need of the shields — with the focus on donating to hospitals, doctors and nurses first, then extending to other first responders. As word spread, LIXIL had colleagues, hospitals and others in the healthcare community reaching out directly to request the face shields.
“We are so grateful for the hard work and sacrifice of healthcare workers and first responders on the frontlines battling this terrible virus, and we wanted to show our support and hopefully play a small role in helping to provide much needed personal protective equipment to those who need it the most,” said Troy Benavidez, vice president of public affairs, LIXIL Americas. “Our LIXIL team has stepped up to the plate to support this effort, selflessly volunteering time to help make the face shields, and enabling us to meet this urgent need from frontline workers in our communities.”
To date, LIXIL has donated more than 800 face shields to workers on the frontlines, and plans to continue its efforts as long as there is a need in the community. LIXIL Americas recently teamed up with Jersey City Rapid Maker Response Group, a volunteer group based in Jersey City, New Jersey also dedicated to making face shields, to help develop tooling that enables the production of 10,000 shields per day. Through this increased production, LIXIL will donate an additional 50,000 face shields across the communities it serves in North America. The expansion also will give LIXIL employees across the United States, Canada and Mexico the opportunity to assemble face shields at home and distribute them to frontline workers within their own communities — making this initiative an all-around LIXIL Americas team effort.