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"Do the Right Thing": Clorox VP and Scheller Alum Rick McDonald on the Fight Against COVID-19

The Clorox Company is one of the most important creators and suppliers of products to help combat COVID-19. Scheller alumni and VP of Global Operations Rick McDonald talks about the ways the company is doing more during the pandemic.

Hand sanitizer. Disinfecting wipes. Bleach.

These words are now in the vernacular of people across the world in the fight against COVID-19 and while The Clorox Company has been a household brand for decades, it has become one of the most important suppliers to combat the virus. For years, the company’s disinfecting products have been recognized by the CDC and EPA for killing viruses and bacteria.

Stepping up supply to meet the unprecedented demand is no small task but the company has been working tirelessly to meet customer needs. “In March we produced 140 percent more product than we produced in January to support families, communities, healthcare facilities, and individuals across the U.S.,” said Rick McDonald, vice president of Global Operations at Clorox and Scheller graduate (IM’82).

As early as January, the company increased production and manufacturing, adding extra shifts and workers to support their expanded production operations. “Between January and March, we ramped up production by over 400% for the products used in healthcare facilities,” said McDonald.

As expected, delivering products to healthcare facilities and retail customers requires enormously skillful planning around logistics and the company remains dedicated to keeping up with demand by optimizing its supply chain. “We have a very skilled team of planners and logisticians working around the clock to ensure that the product we and our external manufacturers produce is shipped to our customers as soon as possible,” he said.

At a time when many individuals are sheltering in place, employees at Clorox are working around the clock even amidst concerns of the virus’s rapid spread. Despite this threat, Clorox had a plan and took early actions to keep their employees safe. “Our front-line associates who work in our plants and distribution centers have been relentless in the effort to produce as much product as they can, while being supported by increased infection prevention measures, including physical distancing, temperature scans, enhanced cleaning protocols, and hygiene practices,” said McDonald.

The company is serious about ensuring the health of its employees, with McDonald stating that it’s the company’s top priority. “In addition to the safety measures and enhanced benefits we’re providing, we’ve established an initial $1 million Employee Emergency Relief Fund to provide coronavirus-related support for Clorox employees,” he relayed.

This focus on supporting workers extends to the community through The Clorox Company Foundation, founded in 1980 and dedicated to advancing the quality of life in communities where Clorox employees live and work. “Between our company, our foundation, and our brands, we have committed about $14 million in cash and product donations for COVID-19 relief efforts with DirectRelief, the Centers for Disease Control Foundation’s Emergency Response Fund, and the American Red Cross,” said McDonald.

“Our internal compass at Clorox always guides us to our most important value as a company: ‘Do the Right Thing,’” McDonald stated. “We will continue to focus on our priorities of maximizing supply to get our products where they are needed, protecting the health, safety, and well-being of our employees, and supporting caregivers on the front lines of fighting COVID-19.”

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