Pan-Oston Swaps Challenges for Opportunity

Tough times are inevitable in life and in business. But how you compose yourself during those times defines your spirit and will define your future. – Richard Branson

When COVID-19 hit our nation and economy, the effect it had on businesses is something no one could have prepared for. For many companies, this meant quickly adapting their business model to meet the new demands of their customers or face the possibility of closing. Houchens Industries owned company, Pan-Oston, is a great example of a business that had to transform who they are in order to persevere during the pandemic. 

For over 50 years, Pan-Oston has been the industry leader in grocery and retail front-end solutions from check lanes to self-checkout and portal scanning. In March 2020, as COVID-19 became a worldwide pandemic, many companies across the nation that Pan-Oston does business with had to quickly change their focus in order to abide by the new COVID-19 safety regulations. And due to that sudden change in focus and direction, a majority of Pan-Oston’s existing business was put on hold indefinitely.

Faced with this new uncertainty, the Pan-Oston team quickly came together with ideas for new products that would fit newfound urgent needs in the market. A new product line from the company was then launched, Protective Product Solutions by Pan-Oston. Newly appointed President of Pan-Oston, Kendra Sewell said, “Our team was able to design, prototype, manufacture and ship over 24,000 acrylic shield protectors within a 5-week window to multiple retailers in various industries across the nation ranging from restaurants, banks, supermarkets, hotels and hospitality.” She stressed that it was truly a team effort, “We weren’t going to let the pandemic stop us, everyone was all-in and had the same goal in order to keep our business thriving.” 

In addition to the new product offerings, employees were empowered to find cost-saving opportunities within the company. Chief Financial Officer, Steve Guess, stated, “Many of the ideas from our employees were implemented and have proven to be important to our current day-to-day operations.” 

Despite the pandemic, the Pan-Oston team was able to overcome major obstacles and in turn develop a new product line, implement cost-savings measures, and build new customer and partner relationships. Pan-Oston is excited for the future and plans to continue to innovate and provide customers with new and helpful products!

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