Universal Protective Packaging, Inc. (UPPI) is a worldwide developer, manufacturer and marketer of specialized, custom thermoformed plastic packaging. The company designs, creates and produces effective and cost-efficient packaging for the retail, medical, electronics, industrial and food industries.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, UPPI found a way to repurpose its operations and contribute to the greater good. As a plastics company, UPPI was uniquely positioned to respond to Penn State Health’s plea for locally manufactured personal protective equipment (PPE). The company reconfigured their production line and ordered new supplies to make plastic face shields for healthcare workers. Within 48 hours of the decision to get involved, UPPI had a prototype for the shield and shortly thereafter production began in earnest.
To meet the demand, UPPI hired more workers and added a third shift. From the end of March through June 2020, the company produced more than 500,000 face shields for Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and other healthcare providers around the country. UPPI continues to fulfill face shield orders from hospitals, assisted living centers, dental offices and educational facilities.
Against this backdrop of innovation, UPPI was facing its own workforce challenges. Hiring struggles predated the pandemic, which exacerbated situations in which employees pulled double duty on core functions like finance and HR. Company leadership reached out to RKL, with whom UPPI had long-standing relationships and had conducted the company’s audit for the past several years. Relationship partner Steven Weidner educated UPPI on RKL’s HR consulting capabilities and connected company leaders with the Human Capital Management team to develop a solution.
The RKL Approach:
The Human Capital Management team started by assessing UPPI’s HR needs, tasks and goals. Over a period of several months, RKL consultants bolstered the company’s employment policies and record-keeping procedures and reviewed individual roles and responsibilities with an eye toward efficiency and alignment. Conducting a compensation analysis revealed that an adjustment to pay practices would improve the company’s talent acquisition efforts. According to UPPI leadership, the company was well aware of these HR tasks and process improvements; it was simply a matter of bandwidth and resources.
After this initial wave of progress to optimize UPPI’s HR function, the COVID-19 pandemic hit. As described above, this crisis altered the company’s product output and workforce planning. It also introduced a wide range of new employee leave options, tax credits and other measures passed as part of the federal coronavirus relief bills. Facts and circumstances were changing quickly on the ground, new information and updates were coming out a rapid pace and UPPI leadership feared that they would overlook a detail or improperly apply a new provision that would reduce the benefit.
The pandemic and key staff departures at UPPI underscored the need for dedicated resource who could handle the HR function remotely and take those responsibilities off the plate of leadership. UPPI officially engaged RKL for outsourced HR support, first on an interim and then an ongoing basis.
Tapping into RKL as an outsourced HR service provider meant that UPPI gained not only a dedicated resource to handle routine matters, but also a strategic advisor on workforce planning and company culture. Many of RKL’s actions had an immediate positive impact on UPPI, including a one dollar pay rate increase that boosted the quality of applicants for open positions, the successful recruitment of a new senior accounting position to provide more capacity to the finance department and the deployment of technology tools to streamline payroll, benefits and more. RKL consultants also interviewed current UPPI team members and analyzed the feedback for opportunities to improve the consistency and quality of the employee experience.
Relying on RKL for outsourced HR services gives UPPI peace of mind that these functions are running smoothly and allows company leaders to focus on its continued adaptation to a new normal.
To learn more about how RKL can drive real results for your organization, send us a message or contact one of our local offices.