April 26, 2020

COVID-19 Q&A: A Roundtable with Sloan

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a deep impact on all aspects of society—and the commercial restroom is no exception. Sloan team members from all areas of the organization—from leadership to product line managers—are doing their part to provide users around the world with essential products in the fight against the virus, while providing Sloan employees with all necessary resources and protective measures.

What impact is COVID-19 having on the commercial restroom industry? 

Graham Allen, Sloan Co-President and CEO: “Any product that eliminates or reduces the number of surfaces the user touches is now of the utmost importance, and COVID-19’s rapid uptick has accelerated the need for such touch-free products. While there has already been an increased demand for sensor-operated products, that need will only continue to grow. As the total restroom solution, Sloan is proud to facilitate these needs with sensor-based, touch-free products throughout the entire restroom, including sinks, handwashing stations, faucets, flushometers, soap dispensers, and hand dryers.

At Sloan, we’re proud of our 114-year history as a leading manufacturer of commercial plumbing products that promote hygiene, sanitation, and accessibility in the restroom. That’s why we understand it’s the products we develop and distribute that play an essential role in the fight against this pandemic.”

What specific products does Sloan offer to help a restroom evolve from manual to sensor-based operation?

Mark Lawinger, Sloan Senior Product Line Manager for Flushometers and Fixtures:We’re seeing locations that have manual flushometers now utilizing Sloan’s retrofit flushometer kits to transform their restrooms into touchless spaces because users are not willing to touch the flushometer handle. In addition, this crisis will dramatically change how everyone looks at public spaces in the future, and there will be an even stronger call for clean and hygienic restrooms.”

Aside from hygienic benefits, how are touch-free products making an impact?

Morgan Butts, Sloan Senior Product Line Manager for Sinks, Faucets, Soap Dispensers, and Hand Dryers: “With touchless fixture operations, especially products with Bluetooth capabilities, the operation teams should be able to resolve product issues faster and the first time around. With just a quick scan of the faucet, the SloanConnect  app can tell maintenance crews the battery level, the sensor strength, if the solenoid needs replacement and other maintenance needs. More uptime leads to higher customer satisfaction.

With Sloan’s AER-DEC sink, paper towel usage is reduced, and this not only saves the facility money but decreases the likelihood that paper towels are flushed down the toilet and  clog the plumbing systems. From a sustainability perspective, many touch-free faucets utilize solar energy harvesting to extend their battery life for up to 10 years.”

How is Sloan working to educate industry professionals on these and other relevant topics?

Andrew Warnes, Sloan’s Technical Training Manager: “Sloan recently launched an online training series that provide insights on compelling and timely topics. These training sessions provide a unique learning opportunity during the current phase of social distancing and in preparation for return-to-work. Formatted as 30-minute webinars, the course topics include “Replacing Manual Faucets with Touch-Free Automatic Sensor Faucets,” “Sloan Sinks – Hygiene and Aesthetics,” “Flushometer Focus – Piston vs. Diaphragm,” and much more. Anyone wanting to participate can send a note to training@sloan.com.”

How is Sloan preparing its employees for work during the pandemic?

Graham Allen: “During the temporary suspension in our manufacturing facilities from March 20 to April 5, plant employees were given two weeks paid time off. Volunteer employees continued working in an effort to ship critical orders to those who relied on our products and services now more than ever. With the plumbing industry deemed an “essential” business by the United States government, Sloan manufacturing plants resumed full operation on April 6.

Sloan’s top priority throughout this entire process has been the safety of our employees, customers, and partners. While office employees are working remotely, all Sloan employees have had continued access to our on-site Sloan Family Health Clinic, should any employee report exposure or symptoms. Our leadership team meets daily and is delivering communications to our entire workforce. We continue to share corporate policy, information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), legislation, and other credible sources we monitor continuously.”

What is Sloan doing to reassure customers during these unusual times?

Parthiv Amin, Sloan’s Chief Sales and Marketing Officer: “Even during our temporary suspension of operations, we have been directly communicating to our customers that we are here to help them with critical orders. Our customer service and technical support teams are fully staffed remotely and are available during normal business hours to assist with any critical orders and help solve challenges. We want to reiterate that our top priority is the safety of our employees, customers, and partners, and we will continue to ensure that our customers’ needs are met when they need it most.”

This is the 16th edition in a series of Q&A segments with Sloan leadership and subject matter experts for their take on how the commercial restroom continues to evolve. A previous edition on the commercial restroom’s role in healthy hygiene can be found here.

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