Our fight against COVID-19




Our Fight Against COVID-19

March 14, 2020.  A date we will always remember.

On that day our world turned upside down. The COVID-19 virus had reached proportions no one could have predicted. A challenging time was ahead of us and it would prove what we are made of.

On that day, our Life Science Managing Director received an emergency call to increase production significantly, immediately, in order to counteract the increasing number of infections, through an increased production volume of ventilators.

The Coronavirus pandemic had placed pressure on hospitals worldwide to provide ICU ventilation equipment for thousands of patients.  Norgren played a huge part in supplying major Intensive Care Ventilator OEMs with solenoid proportional valves, on/off valves, pressure regulators and sub-assemblies – all helping to provide much needed therapy to patients and ultimately saving lives.

One component they needed was Norgren’s FAS FLATPROP proportional valve, which regulates the flow of air and oxygen going into the lungs. Norgren’s FAS site in Geneva is the world’s leading manufacturer of these valves. FLATPROP is assembled to a micron tolerance, while measuring in real time, critical performance parameters, at different pressures, in order to deliver the highest resolution and most reliable regulation capabilities of any valve of its size. To meet the high demand, FLATPROP production capacity was increased ten-fold.

Thanks to the reaction speed and agility of the management team, including operations, supply chain and human resources, we were able to build over 30 additional machines within a period of 4 months, which under normal circumstances would require a minimum of one year. As a result of our dedicated employees and strong customer partnerships, Norgren has prevented a shortage of supply, and thus reinforced our close relationships with the world’s leading ventilator OEMs.

Key Learnings

No one imagined a year ago what we would have to face in just a few months. However, we have now improved the way we adapt to new situations:

  • We align our value streams and processes,and develop new services and products with the active involvement of our customer. It is important to continuously record the customer's needs and to approach a solution in small steps, in close coordination with the customer, in a continuous feedback loop.
  • Decisions are decentralized and placed in the hands of the team, which have all the competencies and resources to carry out their tasks.
  • Working under high uncertainty is an empirical learning process.
  • During hard times, uniting forces is critical. Thanks to the support of our company and dedicated employees, we have been able to keep up with the increase in production capacity.

The coronavirus pandemic made it clear.  We have proven and further improved our agile way of working over the course of the past year, as it enabled us to react faster and more flexibly to the new challenges.

No one can predict with certainty, how market requirements will change in the future. The only certainty is that they will change. Companies will have to react quickly to remain successful. The individual and collective ability to make decisions in an uncertain environment is one of the decisive core competencies of the future. Our business strategy must be consistently based on our customer needs, which enables us to react quickly to sudden changes. Thanks to an agile way of working, customer expectations can always be met in the desired time, regardless of the number of change requests.