By Matt Smith, Walmart Corporate Affairs
The early days of the COVID-19 response in the U.S. saw the supply chain pushed to its limits. Though it seems a lifetime ago now, products like disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer were in short supply during the middle of March 2020.
The second and third weeks of March were NOT business as usual. Within two weeks, three months-worth of disinfectant wipes were sold through. Stores were sold out. Companies like Rockline had to adapt to meet customers’ needs, and they had to do it quickly.
“It truly was tectonic and unprecedented in its magnitude,” Rockline spokesperson Chris Dresselhuys said.
Rockline, a family-owned company headquartered in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, was one of the first Walmart suppliers to step up and answer the call.
That’s because Rockline makes wipes. They make wet wipes in several categories – disposable wipes, baby wipes, makeup removal wipes. If you can think if a type of wet wipe, Rockline probably makes it. And that includes disinfectant wipes.
Luckily, Rockline already made the types of wipes that were in high demand, but getting more on Walmart shelves involved more than just stepping up production. The company had to think differently.
Most disinfectant wipes are sold in plastic cannisters and were already being made as fast as factories could muster. Rockline started to look at other packaging options, like the film wrapper packaging that baby wipes and flushable wipes tend to come in. Converting those manufacturing lines to produce the disinfectant variety was the quickest possible option. So, after getting the packaging approved by the Environmental Protection Agency, Rockline was ready to rock – and roll out product.
“Everyone approached it with a dedication to putting the most amount of product into consumers’ hands to help fight the spread of the coronavirus,” Dresselhuys said.
And that’s just what they did. There were still lots of challenges, like getting the amounts of raw materials necessary to make the wipes and the disinfectant solution. The Rockline team rocked it out. In about a month’s time, Rockline was making disinfectant wipes and shipping them to stores all across the U.S.
“To be able to be a part of bending down the curve and helping people create healthy environments makes it easy, frankly, to get up each day and go to work,” Dresselhuys said.
The availability of products like disinfectant wipes seemed like a small matter a few months ago, but now the sense of control and confidence products like these bring to customers is just as essential. It’s companies like Rockline working tirelessly to get customers the essentials they need that help make it possible.
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