On December 2, 2010, heavy rains in Cali, Colombia turned disastrous when a levee failed, flooding the industrial park where one of Polymer Group Inc.’s (PGI) key factories is located. The 400,000 square foot facility, where PGI makes common household and industrial products for customers worldwide, was deluged under four feet of water, bringing its 24/7 production to a standstill.

With an entire plant mired in water, filth, and sludge, PGI needed a partner to help with extraction, drying, cleaning, and sanitization—and they needed it fast. The right partner needed the experience to handle the work, while also understanding PGI’s unique business requirements, and committing to utilizing PGI employees in the work effort so that they could continue collecting a paycheck.

After evaluating several emergency response bids, PGI confidently decided on FIRST ONSITE to help with restoration. Within 24 hours, the FIRST ONSITE team arrived on the scene and implemented a plan to fully restore, clean, and sanitize the facility, including oversight and supervision of PGI’s crew of more than 140 skilled technical workers. In addition to supervisory support, the FIRST ONSITE team provided hands-on instruction, training classes, and daily safety meetings for all involved.

Luis Miguel Londoño, Quality Assurance Manager as PGI Colombia, said that FIRST ONSITE “did a fantastic job of listening to our needs and helping us to execute a quick sanitization of our plant.” Additionally, “The fact that all of the supervisors were bilingual and spoke fluent Spanish really helped a lot.”

While several firms bidding on the project estimated it would take 30 days to clean and sanitize the plant, FIRST ONSITE estimated and completed the project within 14 days, saving PGI significant downtime and costs. By understanding PGI’s unique needs, FIRST ONSITE’s experienced team was able to carefully assess the work, determine the most efficient approach, and provide the highest quality workmanship through every step of restoration, even coming in under budget and saving PGI more than $327,000

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