Published Mar 26, 2020 12:54:14 PM

ODL, Inc. to suspend MI Manufacturing, MI Distribution, and OH Manufacturing due to COVID-19

Please see the following communications for up-to-date information:

ODL, Inc. to suspend Mexico Manufacturing due to COVID-19


Thursday, March 26, 2020


“We are in uncharted waters and there is not a playbook for this unique situation.” This statement by our COO Dave Klein was true 3 weeks ago. It became truer last week as several states in USA started to Shelter in Place and close down. And then yesterday, Michigan started its own 3 week “Shelter in Place” order.

So, we pulled out the 3 criteria I sent you in last week’s letter. (There was very little dust to brush off, because we have been looking at them every day. Especially the safety part.) Here they are and our current evaluation.

1. We could keep you safe
Yes, we can given the low level of COVID-19 occurrences in states where we have locations and the safety procedures we have already put in place. Those occurrences, however, are going up. It is expected that we have a wave in front of us that is about to break, which is exactly why the Michigan governor issued the “Shelter in place” order. We do not know how our safety procedures will fare when the wave breaks and we do not want to find out.

2. We have orders
Yes, we do. As expected, the incoming orders have started to slow down a little, but we have enough to keep all of our manufacturing facilities operating at full speed. (I mention full speed because we have asked our co-workers to stay home if they are sick or have family they need to take care of and some are taking paid time off we offered earlier in this crisis.) Our absentee rate is at a historic high.

3. The governments say we can
This part got really fuzzy really fast. The Michigan order says we need to shut down if we are not “essential” to saving or preserving life. I have never thought of ODL as being “essential” and I know of no way we have saved or preserved a life. But then we received notices from customers that we were “essential”.

Now it has been 48 hours and my feet are back firmly on the ground. ODL operates plants in two states with government mandated shelter in place orders. Based upon the absenteeism, our workforce in those states wants to follow those orders and stay home. Therefore we have suspended our Michigan and Ohio operations. We did so at the end of 2nd shift last night and will remain closed in those facilities through April 13th.

Just a touch more information before I wrap up. We can keep our employees safe especially in areas where there are few people and/or the “wave” is further away. Therefore, most of ODL’s distribution network and our manufacturing facility in Mexico will continue to operate. They will remain open as long as we can continue to live within the “spirit of the law”, have orders, have materials, and most importantly keep everyone safe.

It feels weird to end this letter with ODL’s purpose statement, “We Make Your Life Better.” I have just told employees we are shutting down. I have just told vendors that their order books are going to dry up. I have just told customers, who deemed us essential, that we will likely be quite late in shipping their order. How is this making anyone’s life better? I can only fall back on another of ODL’s core values – Soft: Give as gentle a landing as possible. And in that vein, we will ship every order we can for as long as we can; we will pay every invoice; we will keep our people safe; and in between we will continue planning for the future.


Jeff Mulder
President & CEO


To summarize our President and CEO’s letter, ODL will suspend operations in Michigan and Ohio until April 13, 2020:

  • Michigan Manufacturing
  • Michigan Distribution
  • Ohio Manufacturing (Kenyon’s Glass)
At this time, we will continue receiving and shipping orders out of our distribution network:
  • Valdosta, GA Distribution Center
  • Gallatin, TN Distribution Center
  • Dallas, TX Distribution Center
  • Reno, NV Distribution Center
  • Hagerstown, MD
  • Vaughan, ON
  • Calgary, AB 

Manufacturing in Matamoros, Mexico will continue normal operations, unless we deem other necessary changes are required.

Our Customer Service, Marketing and Sales teams will continue normal operations, working remotely. They are available to support you as needed from their remote locations.

So, in summary, as of March 26th, 2020, ODL will continue to process your orders, however, due to the interruptions of our distribution network, those orders may be delayed or shipped out of other areas. Please have patience with us as we will work to fulfill every order we can in the most efficient way possible.

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