Goodwill Industries partners with Keystone Solutions Group to produce face shields

Charter Growth Capital Fund portfolio company Keystone Solutions Group is at the forefront of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As they deal with the effects the coronavirus pandemic is having on their bottom lines, businesses and organizations are engaging in some in-your-face thinking to generate revenue and keep their employees working. Late last month, Goodwill Industries of Southwestern Michigan took over the production of face shields from Kalamazoo-based Keystone Solutions Group, an engineering, product development and medical device contract manufacturing company. Keystone designed and originally produced the face shields at its location in the Oshtemo Business Park. Goodwill will sell the face shields directly under the brand 420 East, while Keystone will continue to act as the distributor. The 420 East brand is a nod to the address for the Goodwill facility on East Alcott Street.

The for-profit/nonprofit collaboration was an outgrowth of conversations that took place between Dillworth and Jim Medsker, Keystone’s CEO and a member of Goodwill’s board since 2013. Medsker had served as board president of Goodwill from 2018-2019. “We had identified that we needed face shields for our employees, and at the same time (Jim) reached out to me and said they needed a workforce to meet the capacity to produce face shields,” Dillworth said.

To produce the volumes needed to meet the demand for face shields, Keystone would have had to “staff up,” according to Vaughn Gerber, the company’s director of central engineering. “Part of the reason we decided to hand this off is that at the same time we started making the face shields, we also started the process of manufacturing test kit swabs,” Gerber said. “That’s really where our focus has been, on launching sterile test kit swabs.”

The demand for these swabs is upwards of hundreds of thousands and growing, primarily due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Gerber said. “We’ve actually had interest for the test kit swabs in higher volumes than that,” he said. “The challenge is getting the raw swabs in.”

Despite working with limited resources, Keystone has remained fully operational and is considered an essential business because of its product line. The company has 60 employees, which includes a production team that continues to come in to manufacture various medical equipment and supplies and an office staff that is currently working from home. Keystone’s products are shipped to customers in the U.S. and North America who in turn may ship them worldwide. Read more at MiBiz

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