Our business was founded on the belief that the health care world needs to look at apparel in a different way. If we were going to change the world’s vision, we needed to do things differently, too. So, we when we were ready to produce our scrubs, we decided our manufacturing partner would become part of that high standard.
We knew we wanted to keep our product here in the U.S. and while we had many contacts that could be a good fit, we were looking for more than just a facility to manufacture apparel.
Through our research, we discovered that we could pair our passion for our product and our desire to create change with our manufacturer: Royal Park USA, a division of Industries of the Blind (IOB). The way they run their organization, treat their employees and focus on quality won us over. Read on and we’re sure you’ll feel even better about making your purchase.
A Perfect Fit
The organization started in 1933 with six people making mops in a leased storefront during one of the worst years of the Great Depression. Today they have grown to a multi-million dollar organization that continues to grow by staying abreast of technological developments in manufacturing and products that could provide jobs for people who are blind.
We spent some time there recently to see our scrubs in production and had a chance to talk with IOB president David LoPresti. He attributes much of their success to a strong board of directors, a great team, and an open culture that fosters innovation and creativity.
When David was hired in 2009, his engineering and manufacturing experience and strong leadership opened IOB to new methods and equipment that almost completely eliminated error while increasing production output. According to David, culture and manufacturing go hand in hand:
- They encourage their associates to take more time on each task to reduce waste and eliminate mistakes.
- Lean manufacturing methods are used to reduce waste and increase efficiency.
- Employees are fit to the equipment and tasks that match with their capabilities and type of vision impairments.
- Employees receive extensive training on equipment and receive cross training during production downtime.
- A monthly Q&A meeting with the employees provides a forum to “tell them the truth”, discuss sales, the direction of the company and “participate in deciding how the organization is run.”
Over the years, they’ve evolved their manufacturing capabilities to accommodate a product line ranging from janitorial supplies and pens to military equipment such as ballistic nape pads and hydration carriers. While they maintain their government work, they’re always looking for opportunities to diversify their production capabilities to provide more jobs. That perspective led to the recent acquisition of Royal Park USA, which is now their commercial division.
Eliminating Barriers to Success
Have you ever held a position with a company that was a less than ideal fit? Many of us have been there, stayed as long as we could and then moved on as fast as possible. Industries of the Blind have employees (they call them “associates”) who have worked there for over 40 years. David explains that kind of dedication comes from the rewarding work, fair compensation, benefits and most importantly IOB’s vision “To eliminate all barriers for people who are blind or visually impaired.”
David is proud to see the organization’s vision embodied in the associates who come to work every day as independent, successful individuals who are able to buy their own homes and support a family.
In 2013 they celebrated a significant milestone: 80 years of providing jobs for people who are blind.
We’re glad to be part of the next chapter in their history.
Learn more about our manufacturer by visiting their web site.