Aluminum Resources keeps on shipping through COVID-19

Remote Work Tales by ImageQuest

Aluminum Resources brokers aluminum ingots for the casting industry and aluminum scrap for the recycling industry. They have been a client of ours almost since ImageQuest began.

In normal times Aluminum Resources is busy receiving aluminum ingots, scrap aluminum wheels, and other products at its Smyrna, Tenn., location, and shipping them back out to its customers.

During April, however, while the casting demand remained mostly typical, the recycling side slowed due to the automotive industry pausing production. Aluminum Resources serves suppliers to the automotive industry, and the shutdown by automotive plants hurt those customers.Jon Morris, Vice President Aluminum Resources

“If you didn’t tell me something was going on, I would probably just say hey, we’re having a slow month here,” said Jon Morris, Vice President.

The 11-person company was deemed essential and continued mostly normal operations, Morris said. That’s because it supplies pure aluminum used to make a chemical for water treatment, and because it provides aluminum to military part manufacturers, he said.

“We followed recommended social distancing procedures, gave each other space, and continued shipping,” Morris said. “We were careful.”

Morris also had a coronavirus scare. His wife works in the medical profession and learned she’d been in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. That led the whole family to quarantine at home.

Fortunately, no one developed symptoms, he said.

Morris said he was able to use the company VPN to work from home, and estimated that “90 percent of what I do, could be done at my home. If I shut my door here at the office, they would never know if I was here or at my kitchen table working.”

However, Aluminum Resources opted to upgrade its IT infrastructure to Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) in April. It provides the company with the latest server and desktop standards to improve stability and compliance.

The company is family-owned, founded by Morris’ parents David and Carol in 1987, and now run by Morris and his brother Mark. Jon Morris said his parents are “semi-retired” but remain actively involved.

Before the upgrade, Carol Morris experienced some times with an unstable VPN connection while working from home.  With the upgrade to Desktop-as-a-Service, she now enjoys a consistent, stable connection for her work, her son said.

Jon Morris said he likes the new DaaS infrastructure because “I’m looking at the exact same screen now at home as I see in the office. We like to be hands-on in the office here, but there’s a lot of stuff we also could do at home if need be.”

ImageQuest Project Manager Matt Moses scheduled the upgrade for a Saturday outside of Aluminum Resources’ regular business hours. Field Technicians Todd Broadway and Mark Adams installed new computers and migrated systems over that day. They were on-site Monday to assist the Aluminum Resources team with their new equipment.

Morris said the transition went smoothly.

“I’ve had almost zero issues,” he said. “The people working with accounting packages and such, they’ve had a few more calls to make, but to me, it’s gone very smoothly. There’s always going to be a laundry list of things that don’t quite sync up, but we’ve knocked those out pretty quickly.”

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