Growth & Jobs | JAMPRO helps Paramount Jamaica to break new ground in COVID-19 pandemic
What do you do when you’re facing a crisis? You adapt, and find opportunity! That’s what Paramount Jamaica, a chemical solutions manufacturer and distributor, did in 2020 to meet the demands of the COVID-19 pandemic by expanding their product line to include sanitation products.
The company has a history spanning 30 years in which it began operations as a distributor, but has recently added manufacturing to its operations. Supported by this development, the company changed direction to adapt to the crisis and remain profitable.
“Paramount has been creating several products for the nation and for export,” explained Vaughn Phang, the company’s chief operating officer. “Our business takes us into many sectors, including industrial chemicals, food, utilities, mining, construction, and most recently lubricants. As expected, all of these sectors have been impacted by the pandemic - it would only be a short time before these challenges trickled down to our company.”
The company decided that they had to create a plan to keep their business in operations. Phang said, “We had to find ways to still support the market and remain viable – and manufacturing of sanitation products was one of them. We activated some resources in our toolbox to meet the demand for these items and to provide solutions for the nation.”
Paramount therefore developed their own brand of hand sanitiser and hard-surface cleaner, and partnered with organisations such as Wray & Nephew to get sanitation products to their clients. They also joined the Bar Recovery Initiative, partnering with Red Stripe Jamaica, Pepsi Jamaica, Celebration Brands, and the Desnoes & Geddes Foundation to help community bars recover from the economic damage of COVID-19.
AIDED BY JAMPRO
The transition to manufacturing and providing sanitation products for the public was supported by Jamaica’s investment and export promotions agency, JAMPRO. Phang highlighted the assistance provided by the agency to help the company take the necessary steps to realise their goal.
“I really got close to JAMPRO when we were exploring the opportunity to set up a lubricant blending facility on the island,” the general manager revealed. “JAMPRO provided technical support and opened doors with regard to constructing the plant, and utilising the incentive programmes that were in place for manufacturing.”
The plant to which Phang refers opened in partnership with the internationally recognised USA-based Allegheny Petroleum Products Company, and it produces hydraulic, transmission, engine and circulating oil, as well as technical, engineering and oil analysis services.
Phang said, “JAMPRO partnered with us to engage Customs and the Ministry of Finance to bring that plant into fruition. That’s where we started off, and since then, we have been working closely with the organisation in how we grow and expand.”
JAMPRO was also able to help the company present Jamaica to their partners as an attractive option in which to set up a plant.
“We were able to present, with the help of JAMPRO, the benefits of setting up a plant in Jamaica, doing the manufacturing here, providing employment, and ensuring that the quality standards would have been equal or even better than what they were expecting,” Phang explained.
Senior Commercial Manager at Paramount Thausia Martin echoed Phang’s positive sentiments about JAMPRO’s input and revealed that despite the lockdowns and social distancing, JAMPRO and Paramount have maintained their close relationship.
“They have done an excellent job in reaching out to us and sharing with us any updates that are out there, such as upcoming activities that we can participate in,” Martin said.
EYEING MORE MANUFACTURING
With new opportunities now available for Paramount, Phang expressed that the company would like to continue a trajectory of expansion into more manufacturing.
Paramount has recently started a supply arrangement/partnership with locally owned fuel marketing company FESCO to do its third-party manufacturing. The company has also purchased the Seprod bleach plant – another step towards increasing its manufacturing for local and international customers.
Reflecting on Paramount’s vision of the future, Martin added that these and other projects will only benefit Jamaica and its economy. The company sees itself as a leader in Jamaica’s recovery effort, as the island looks to rebound from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“With all of these bright minds coming out institutions like UWI (The University of the West Indies), the University of Technology) UTech, Caribbean Maritime University, and HEART, we want to ensure that Paramount can provide a place for them in the manufacturing sector,” she insisted. “Being a part of Jamaica’s recovery process, contributing to the economy, as well as creating employment are the major goals for us in the future.”