In this QAD Precision Report, we pay tribute to companies — and
their workers — that are working to stop the spread of Covid-19 and
ensure that medical staff have access to critical supplies.
Governments around the world have taken extraordinary measures to
fight to contain the spread of Covid-19. With many nations essentially
on lockdown, or near to it, authorities hope that by limiting contact
outside of family groups, transmission rates will slow.
Those of us lucky enough to be able to work from home with access to
soap and water can practice good hand hygiene. Essential workers in
many industries do not necessarily have the ability to do so. As a
result, hand sanitizer is crucial to help protect their health and the
health of the public that relies on them.
Unfortunately, hand sanitizer is in short supply. The demand for hand
sanitizer has, unsurprisingly, spiked. Some of this is necessary
demand — we all want to protect our loved ones as best we can.
Nonetheless, there have also been reports of people hoarding hand
sanitizer and other essential supplies to sell via marketplaces.
Marketplaces, however, have responded by shutting down sellers
involved in price gouging on essential supplies.
Equally importantly to preventing the spread of Covid-19, is treating
those that are ill and ensuring that healthcare workers have access to
critical supplies. In addition, healthcare workers on the frontline
need access to personal protective equipment (PPE). This allows them
to treat the ill, and minimize the risk of contracting the virus themselves.
Like hand sanitizer, there has been a surge in demand for PPE such as
gloves, masks and gowns. In order to supply these much needed items, a
number of manufacturers have retooled their production lines to help
fight the spread of Covid-19.
Life Sciences Companies Ramp Up Production
Life sciences companies are absolutely critical in the fight against
Covid-19. As well as working around the clock on vaccine research,
life sciences companies have ramped up production of much needed supplies.
In mid-March, Thermo Fisher Scientific announced plans to scale
production of testing kits in April. At that time, the company
had 1.5 million testing kits available. Under the new plans, Thermo
Fisher Scientific expects to produce 2 million kits a week, and
continue increasing production up to 5 million per week.
International life sciences leader, LGC, is working closely with
government and regulatory agencies to help them meet their diagnostic
needs. In addition, LGC has also scaled
production of critical kit components so that laboratories are
able to continue with much-needed testing.
Multinational conglomerate, 3M,
has responded by doubling their global production of N95
respirators. The company is now producing almost 100 million N95
respirators per month. In a LinkedIn post, 3M Chairman and CEO Mike
Roman, said that, “3M has a unique and critical responsibility in
pandemic preparedness and response.” He also stated that although 3M
is operating at maximum capacity, the company will invest in expanding
so that they can double the output of respirators to almost 2 billion
a year within the next 12 months.
Distillers and Perfumers Switch to Hand Sanitizer Production
A variety of companies, both large and small, have switched
production lines to make hand sanitizer. Last week, luxury goods
manufacturer, LVMH switched production at its cosmetic and perfume
facilities to make hand sanitizer. Globally known for iconic brands
such as Givenchy and Christian Dior, LVMH will supply the hand
sanitizer to health
authorities in France free of charge.
Beiersdorf, the company behind Nivea, has also stepped up. Beiersdorf
is making medical-grade
hand sanitizer to help stop the spread of Covid-19 across
Europe. The company plans to deliver 500 tonnes to medical facilities
as well as other public service providers.
Likewise, alcohol companies have also begun producing hand sanitizer.
Pernod Ricard, whose brands include Jameson Irish Whiskey and Absolut
Vodka, is converting distilleries in the US to produce hand sanitizer.
The company will donate
the hand sanitizer instead of selling it.
In a similar manner, the Scottish brewery, BrewDog, will make and
supply hand sanitizer free
of charge to local charities and communities. Multinational
drinks manufacturer Diageo, makers of Guinness and Smirnoff vodka, is
to partner with hand sanitizer manufacturers and supply them with two
million litres of alcohol. The company plans to distribute
the sanitizer to healthcare workers.
From Vehicles to Ventilators
Last week, the British government sent a ventilator
blueprint to more than 60 manufacturers. In a conference call,
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson asked a number of automotive
manufacturers to make much needed ventilators. Companies tasked with
this initiative include iconic British car makers Rolls-Royce and
Jaguar Land Rover, as well as European airline manufacturer, Airbus.
Although some commentators believe that pivoting production to
ventilators could be difficult within a short period of time, many
manufacturers responded positively to the request.
A spokesperson for Airbus stated: “These are unprecedented times and
Airbus will help where it can.” Rolls-Royce also indicated a
willingness to offer any practical help the company could provide.
Likewise Jaguar Land Rover that: “As a British company, naturally, we
will do whatever we can to support our communities during these
From Frocks to Hospital Gowns
With stores closed around the world, fashion retailers and clothing
manufacturers have switched to producing PPE such as hospital gowns
and masks. Two of Europe’s largest fashion companies, Inditex —
parent to high street fashion chain Zara — and H&M have both
promised to retool
their operations to needed medical garments. Zara has already
donated 10,000 masks. The company has promised to donate 300,000
more masks by the end of this week.
In addition, luxury fashion brands Balenciaga and Yves Saint Laurent
are to produce face masks. Gucci will make and donate 1.1 million
masks and 55,000 medical overalls to authorities in Italy. Another
Italian fashion house, Prada, is to produce 80,000 medical overalls
and 110,000 masks.
Avoiding Hardship and Economic Supports
The economic fallout from the global pandemic is hard to quantify.
Governments are responding in the hopes of minimizing economic
hardship on citizens. The UK government has pledged
to pay 80 percent of the salaries of workers furloughed if
companies are unable to pay their workers. Similarly, the Irish
government recently announced a subsidy of 70
percent of a worker’s salary up to a maximum of €410 per week if
companies are unable to pay their staff.
This Tuesday, US Congressional and White House officials said that
the government was close to agreeing a Covid-19 stimulus package for
US businesses and workers. The package will cost nearly $2 trillion.
These unprecedented measures by governments are necessary to protect
workers from falling into poverty at a time when they cannot work. In
addition, a number of corporations have promised to assist in other ways.
Starbucks, for example, will continue to pay
workers for 30 days, whether they come into work or stay at
home. The company has pledged to do this for all workers,
irrespective of their coronavirus status. In addition, Starbuck staff
who continue to work during the crisis will receive an extra $3 per
hour for the next month. The iconic coffee chain has transitioned all
stores in the US and Canada to drive-thru and delivery only to protect
workers and the public.
A number of banks have also stepped up to assist customers. Bank of
America will let customers defer
payments on mortgages and loans by request. In addition Brian
Moynihan, CEO of Bank of America, pledged
$100 million for local communities to increase medical response
capacity, as well as provide access to food and learning. Other banks
that have promised to assist customers include Citi, Marcus by
Goldman Sachs, and Wells Fargo in the US.
Time and space makes it impossible for us to detail the many varied
positive contributions that companies are making during the Covid-19
crisis. The companies discussed above are just a few of the many, many
organizations that are working tirelessly to assist authorities,
workers and communities. We are grateful for all their efforts and the
hard work that their staff are undertaking to fight the pandemic.
About QAD Precision – Trusted Global Trade and Transportation Execution
QAD Precision, a division of QAD Inc., provides industry-leading global
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