The Hershey Company is collaborating with a host of industry, technology, community, and global partners to respond to the COVID crisis.
In late April, leading food manufacturer The Hershey Company announced an entirely new $1 million production line dedicated to making up to 45,000 disposable masks a day for its employees, their families, and the broader community. By the first week of June, that new production line was acquired, installed, staffed, and operational.
Leveraging its internal engineering capabilities and its collaborative partner relationships with equipment manufacturer JR Automation and General Motors, which is making similar masks, Hershey moved quickly to address the nationwide shortage of protective equipment.
“Disposable masks are an integral piece of protecting the health and safety of our employees, their families and our community as we move forward over the weeks and months ahead,” said Jason Reiman, Hershey’s Chief Supply Chain Officer. “Changing how we work, and adding this capability is a testament to the adaptability of our team, and our desire to make a difference.”
This is just one example of how Hershey has collaborated with a broad set of industry, technology, community, and global partners to help drive its COVID response.
For example, to better manage urgent supply chain issues in the face of global disruption, it has worked closely with the Boston Consulting Group to create a digital supply chain dashboard to highlight potential constraints to its supply base using advanced geographical data analysis of virus hot spots around the world.
The company had already reacted rapidly to the pandemic crisis within its own facilities. With a primary focus on the health and safety of its employees, it introduced an extensive set of new protective measures in its plants to support the already stringent hygiene, safety, and security measures required by the food industry. That early safety focus helped Hershey maintain operations throughout the crisis. Many companies and suppliers, such as U.S. dairy farms, also rely on Hershey as a customer, so its efforts contribute directly to the viability of the food supply chain, part of the critical infrastructure, and enable continued employment for thousands of employees.
“Hershey created a digital dashboard to highlight potential supply constraints using geographical data analysis of virus hot spots around the world.”
Close to home in Hershey, PA, the company has also collaborated with professionals from the Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center by making donations of N95 masks and surgical gloves, along with hand sanitizing stations. It has also provided warehouse space, staff supply chain expertise, and logistics systems support to operate a 22,000-square foot distribution center on the Hershey Company campus to help the flow of supplies from Penn State Health to its network of providers.
In addition, Hershey has expanded its donation programs to support other hospitals and healthcare institutions and workers across the U.S. These include delivering tens of thousands of pounds of treats to more than 50 facilities in over a dozen states to lift the spirts of front-line health workers and provide encouragement through small moments of goodness throughout their days.
Working with community and supply partners, it has also made cash donations of millions of dollars to a variety of safety net organizations including United Way Worldwide, Feeding America, and the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, as well as several local United Ways and food banks in U.S. communities where it operates. Part of that effort included working with food industry partners to provide donations to the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank, including 30,000 pounds of dairy-based products from Land O’Lakes, and 10,000 pounds of sugar from American Sugar Refining (ASR).
Globally, Hershey joined other major chocolate companies who have collectively donated funds to support international relief agencies in delivering COVID-19 education and protection in cocoa growing communities, and it has provided cash and product to support COVID-19 response efforts in some of its key markets, including China, India, Brazil and Malaysia. It is also collaborating with fellow cocoa industry partners to support response efforts in cocoa communities in West Africa.
For Hershey, it’s that kind of collaborative, cross-industry, cross community partnership approach that can make the most difference in times of crisis. “Caring for communities is not about taking any single action,” commented Michele Buck, Hershey’s President and CEO. “It’s a combination of many people taking many actions from a place of shared values and a sense of responsibility for one another.” M