Like so many of our partners, more than 10,000 global employees have remained fully operational and are working round-the-clock to ensure access and delivery of medical supplies to support doctors and nurses on the frontlines of the pandemic. We share with you a commitment to serve and have introduced several efforts to provide relief.
Ramping up production and distribution efforts. To expand the availability of future supplies, significant investments have been made to successfully airfreight more than 10 million facemasks after manufacturing began again in Asia. This will improve manufacturing-to-dock time by about three-to-four weeks per shipment. Facemasks, gloves and gowns are the primary PPE we are accelerating through air freight shipments. In addition, we are taking the following steps to produce and distribute PPE faster:
- Global production capacity for masks has increased to an expectation of 57 million masks available in April.
- We have worked with U.S. Customs & Border Patrol to minimize the inspection time in customs.
- The production of reusable facemasks and gowns manufactured in Latin America has doubled, and we are working to source additional manufacturing capabilities worldwide.
- We redirected a shipment of surgical gloves for use by the U.S. government to assist with their efforts to increase available PPE across the United States.
Ensuring solutions where there are disruptions. Although factories in China and other parts of Asia have opened, many are operating with restrictions, and production and distribution continue to be slow. For example, we are seeing constriction in exam glove manufacturing due to a Movement Control Order to limit the spread of COVID-19 in Malaysia. After intervention with that government, factories have been able to operate at 50% manpower.
Even as we anticipate ongoing strain on the supply chain, we are attempting to allay that in whatever ways possible. For example, for isolation gowns, head/footwear, and coveralls we have increased the production capacity at factories in Southeast Asia, though the production ramp-up is still slow.
Creating relief initiatives focused on high-demand products. As Charlie Mills, CEO, has explained, “Whether it’s converting manufacturing capabilities to produce hand sanitizer or developing a creative way to renew facemasks, we are pursuing every opportunity to make a difference.” Having faced disasters and disruptions in the past, we know that the only way to succeed in times of crisis is to listen to our partners in the field and be ready to solve problems in original and proactive ways.
- N95 Respirator Mask with Medline ReNewalTM. To match supply needs where we can, Medline has come up with an innovative solution — the process of collecting and decontaminating N95 respirators and other facemasks — and is close to receiving FDA emergency-use approval. We are currently able to decontaminate approximately 100,000 N95s per day and are looking to expand this initiative as quickly as possible. See the article on how this process works in an attempt to answer any questions or concerns related to re-use and sterility.
- Redeployed manufacturing capabilities handle increased production of hand sanitizer. Manufacturing operations in Wisconsin and Connecticut have been reassigned, with teams modifying equipment and ventilation systems, so that we can produce an estimated 150,000 bottles a week by mid-April for healthcare providers throughout the nation.
The reality is that we, like many other suppliers and healthcare facilities, are faced with ongoing challenges in the supply chain. It’s unclear at this point how long that may be in place and how volumes may be impacted. We are dedicated to do everything that is within our control to ramp up, redeploy, and provide relief and resources wherever we can.
Read more about all the ways we are working with industry and government agencies as this crisis grows.