“I can say that we were probably challenged more with trying to be fast, fluid and flexible in 2020 than ever before in the history of the company.” – Tony Cavalco | CEO | Nicolet Plastics

In the second episode of “Wisconsin Made. The Podcast. we highlight our first manufacturing story as we feature Nicolet Plastics out of Jackson, Wisconsin. In 2020, they lived by their trademark: Fast, Fluid and Flexible. Nicolet Plastics had a customer who manufactured disposable PPE that suddenly experienced a huge increase in demand due to COVID-19. In less than two weeks, the company added a third shift and increased production from 200,000 parts per week to 600,000. Over the next six weeks, they added equipment and began running shifts 24/7 to produce 1.6 million parts per week.

Our guest joining us for this episode is Tony Cavalco, CEO of Nicolet Plastics who has an extensive background in managing complex manufacturing businesses with over 30 years of experience. Tune in to this episode as we discuss with Tony on how Nicolet Plastics adapted to the market and changes to what their customers needed throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The team at Nicolet Plastics really responded to the needs of their customers in a big way in 2020 and really was critical in the fight against the pandemic with manufacturing PPE for front-line workers.

In this episode we answer:

  • Who is Nicolet Plastics and how did you manage your businesses throughout COVID-19? (2:16)
  • What did it mean to be fast, fluid and flexible in 2020 for Nicolet Plastics? (3:50)
  • What does your production floor look like? What changes did you have to make in 2020 to keep people safe while still being able to respond to this pandemic and make critical PPE? (6:02)
  • How did your team react when you said we are going to ramp up on manufacturing PPE? (8:16)
  • Do you envision that this is going to be a new product (PPE) long term, or do you think you will transition back into your core products? Where do you see Nicolet Plastics going in the next year? (12:54)
  • Do you see a continuation in the growing challenge to find workers in 2021 and beyond? (17:23)

In next week’s episode, we are going to be talking with Christian Herrild, Director of Growth Strategies of Teel Plastics. We will learn about their personal story and what 2020 was like for them and how they navigated through all the challenges and even found success and opportunities moving forward.

If you found value in this episode or want to hear the stories from Wisconsin manufacturers, please hit that subscribe button and share it with your peers. We really want to showcase all the good news stories of how manufacturing was critical in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Wisconsin Made. The Podcast.” is brought to you by Wisconsin Manufacturer of the Year, a premiere annual awards program celebrating excellence in manufacturing in the state of Wisconsin. Thank you to our program sponsors Baker Tilly, Michael Best and Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC).

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