Meeting COVID-19 Challenges with Innovative Products
Jonti-Craft is Answering Education & Healthcare Needs During the Pandemic with Portable Sinks, Table Divider Shields, and More.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, we’ve all heard the “wash your hands often and stay socially distant” public health guidance and advice. The team at Jonti-Craft—a Minnesota-based educational furniture manufacturer—has stepped up to the challenge and worked hard to not only develop new products, but to adapt current ones to answer new needs in classrooms and beyond.
Located in the small town of Wabasso, MN, Jonti-Craft has been designing and manufacturing furniture, storage solutions and classroom accessories for 40+ years, with a specialized focus on schools and daycare facilities. The company’s product lineup is known for quality, durability, and innovation and in 2010, they developed the Clean Hands Helper line of portable sinks. More recently, the company introduced a variety of See-Thru Table Divider Shields. Both product lines have proven to be vitally important to current and new customers during the national health challenge.
Nick Schwarz, Jonti-Craft’s COO explained, “We’re known as a leading provider of children’s furniture for schools and daycares and now, we’re seeing rapidly growing demand from the healthcare sector for our Clean Hands Helper portable sinks, See-Thru Dividers, and other products. For more than 10 years, our portable sink solutions have answered a growing demand for hand washing in classrooms without plumbing. This product helped many of those schools and daycares meet standards and achieve certification requirements associated with sanitation and handwashing.”
Jonti-Craft Clean Hands Helper Portable Sinks go wherever frequent hand washing is a priority, and without any plumbing required. They are available in two heights—one for children and one for adults—and in two sink options, a one-piece molded plastic sink, or a stainless-steel sink insert. These mobile sinks meet licensing requirements and give users the flexibility of moving them quickly to areas of need. The sinks feature electric on-demand water heaters to warm water to a safe 40°F above room temperature. More importantly, these sinks arrive needing only the faucets and handles attached and water filled, so they can be used immediately. The product lineup also includes a non-electric option for areas where plugs are not accessible.
Jonti-Craft’s Director of Sales, Matt Hinkle, explained, “By the end of March 2020, we saw a significate increase in the demand of our portable sinks. Adding to the urgency, customers were and are continuing to ask for immediate shipment.” Hinkle noted that historically the company has never been asked to provide products related to a disaster or crisis, saying, “We needed to look ‘outside of the box’ to scale quickly while maintaining manufacturing best-practices. We worked even more closely and collaboratively with customers to evaluate every possible solution. For example, our production team worked with customers to develop a re-configured shipping schedule so that we could build and ship smaller batches of sinks versus waiting until the entire order was ready. This method allowed us to ship partial orders faster so facilities could start using them right away.”
Since March, Jonti-Craft has supplied portable sinks to sites all over the United States, including several military bases. One of the company’s newest customers is Illumina Corporation, a biotech company that equips disease control laboratories to support testing and research for COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.
Along with portable sinks, Jonti-Craft has also seen a surge in demand for its newly added See-Thru Table Divider Shields. “The need for products to help schools achieve social distancing in tight spaces has, understandably, skyrocketed. Most schools don’t have the budget to redesign and refurnish every classroom to meet new health guidelines. They needed a way to convert rooms and products they already had into spaces where children can be separated, yet still engaged in learning. This is where our See-Thru Table Divider Shields are extremely helpful,” adds Matt Hinkle.
The See-Thru Table Divider Shields are designed to separate tables and worktops with a physical barrier so children and adults can be placed closer than 6 feet apart. Constructed of a sturdy see-thru acrylic, these dividers provide maximum visibility and make wiping down easy. Jonti-Craft designs a wide variety of sizes and setups to accommodate any need and table or counter configuration. The line also offers an option with a small opening at the bottom for sliding papers through making it ideal for teachers and a great solution for restaurants, reception desks, and office and retail environments.
Jonti-Craft’s Portable Sinks and Table Divider Shields are currently found in the lower 48 US states and across multiple countries. Over 4,000 Portable Sinks were sold and delivered in 2020 alone, and the company has already booked orders for more this year. Recently, a New Mexico school district purchased a significant quantity of both the Clean Hands Portable Sinks and the See-Thru Table Divider Shields. This school district compared Jonti-Craft’s products to those of three competitors. They chose Jonti-Craft’s solutions based on quality construction and performance and have indicated that they plan to purchase more products for their district in the months ahead.
In addition, Jonti-Craft has recently partnered with other companies—such as HiGeneMonkey. This innovative company developed an interactive handwashing game to encourage kids to wash their hands for a full 20 seconds. The Jonti-Craft Clean Hands Helper Sink allows the HiGeneMonkey screen to be portable, and company representatives noted that the water efficiency more than exceeded their expectations, a critical advantage when an entire class needs to wash hands multiple times a day. Together, the companies are working towards creating healthy habits in classrooms to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and other viruses and germs.