As an essential manufacturer, Chroma Color Corp. continued to work through the pandemic. Making sure the employees were protected was a big challenge and top priority, according to Deanna Sands, customer service and office manager for materials firm Chroma in Lambertville, N.J.
"The most unexpected thing I learned through the pandemic is having good people and utilizing logic and common sense gives you the capability to endure severe hardships," she said.
Sands said the current challenges are not unique to her, but felt by the industry as a whole.
"With customer satisfaction as our most important responsibility," she said, "navigating the global effects of the COVID pandemic, supply chain constraints and manpower shortages are a constant strain on our efforts."
In her role as customer service and office manager, Sands manages the customer service team and all office functions.
"My job responsibilities require me to interface with all department managers — sales, technical, production, shipping, quality control and accounting — to assure that all of our customers receive accurate and timely information," she said.
"Customer satisfaction is our key performance metric," Sands added.
This is her first role in the plastics industry.
"I really didn't know anything about the industry when I first started," she said. "As my knowledge grew, my interest and fascination with colors and plastics grew as well. Color is an amazing attribute in life that surrounds us all.
"It never ceases to amaze me that there are so many possibilities when you combine unlimited coloring effects with all the different plastics that make up the materials in our everyday lives," Sands added.
Sands' plastics career highlights include advancement from shipping clerical to customer service to office manager, which has given her "a sense of pride and accomplishment." She said one of the most satisfying things is to receive customer compliments about the customer service team.
"As a woman that did not have a background education in plastics technology," she said, "I feel that I have broken out of the 'stigma' mold and successfully integrated into an industry where I am a contributor and create value."
Sands was nominated by Howard DeMonte, president of Chroma.
Q: What's an accomplishment of yours that most people don't know about, either for work or in your personal life?
Sands: When I first started my career, I was a bit timid and lacked self-confidence. Over the years, my career has enabled me to mature in business. As a key manager at Chroma Color, I now have the confidence to speak my piece and be a significant contributor to the sustainability and growth of my company.
Q: If you were CEO of a company, what would you do first?
Sands: You are only as good as the people around you. I would make a major effort to get to know them and understand their capabilities, interests and aspirations.
Q: What about the plastics industry surprises you?
Sands: It truly is amazing that there are so many different plastics and that each one, with its own unique characteristics, is designed to offer all the different products that we use and see in our day-to-day life.