Many Italian companies, including glass machinery manufacturers, have closed their doors temporarily as the country continues to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, which has killed more than 6,000 people in Italy alone. The Italian government has ordered all non-essential businesses to close until April 3. While these closures could impact fabricators worldwide, many distributors in the U.S. were prepared for the measures.
Lovati and Fratelli Pezza are just some of the companies that have closed temporarily.
“All the deliveries to and from our warehouse are not possible in this period [of March 24 through April 3],” reads an email from Lovati to its customers.
Fratelli Pezza announced on its LinkedIn page that the company would be extending its closure until further notice in compliance with the government mandate.
Salem Distributing Co., which represents Italian companies Bovone, Zafferani, Fratelli Pezza and Cefla, is just one U.S. company that put in orders early in anticipation of supply chain disruption.
“We are fortunate to have many long time tooling and supply vendors who are working closely with us to maintain good inventory levels and many substitutions, if needed. Yes, many of our Italian vendors have contacted us to let us know they will be closed anywhere from two to three weeks, but they were allowed to work [yesterday] to get final shipments out the door before they closed for this period of time,” says Ann Greco, sales operations manager at Salem Distributing Co. “Since Salem had sent purchase orders in early, we feel we will be able to provide our customers the supplies they need to continue their production. Additionally, our regional account managers are reaching out to their customers they know are still fabricating/installing and offering our assistance with not only consumable supplies but also technical assistance over the phone.”
DeGorter Inc., which represents Italian companies Schiatti Angelo, Macotec and Triulzi, also has been increasing its inventory. Its office currently remains open and is shipping out items and receiving orders.
“[There’s] been a lot of constant communication with our Italian suppliers, updates for clients here and check-ins with those in hot spots. So far everyone seems to be doing well. We have several big projects in process and we want to make sure the clients are aware of what is going on. The travel ban has been an issue, with three projects now here but we cannot bring engineers over from the European suppliers,” says Pete deGorter, vice president of DeGorter. “Normal machines we install ourselves, but some of the large and fully automated projects require foreign engineers as well as our people. Even though our technicians aren’t traveling either, at least we know they could at a moment’s notice. With the travel ban we have no real idea when we can make these installations. Every one of our partners have been extremely understanding about it all. We are lucky for sure.”
“Up until Friday, we were ahead of the game regarding standard supplies from our European sources, but now things are fully stopped and we’re going to lose time. We’d been preparing since January raising inventory levels. We have an excellent relationship with our forwarding partner, who happens to be Italian himself, and advised us back then to start getting out everything we could,” adds deGorter. “We’ve been doing just that, but customers are also doing the exact same thing and ordering much more than usual. Again, I feel fortunate we are positioned as well as we can be. Our people are safe, our partners are safe and we’re going to be able to absorb some of this slowdown. I’m also optimistic that when the dust settles, we will all be back to full steam catching up on with the rest of the industry to clear out the backlogs.”