How 3M shifted business gears in response to pandemic

3M, a Minnesota-based conglomerate that spans the automotive, construction and energy industries, has become increasingly involved in production of personal protective gear for healthcare workers since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tim Post, a company spokesperson, provided Becker's with some details on how it adjusted its business to respond to the pandemic.  

The company was given funding from both the Defense Production Act and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act to boost production of respirators for U.S. healthcare workers. Those funds have allowed 3M to increase production, and it plans to make more than 95 million respirators per month in the U.S. by the end of this year, Mr. Post told Becker's. In January, the company was making 22 million respirators per month in the U.S.

By the end of 2020, the company will produce 2 billion respirators globally, half of those being N95 masks delivered to the U.S., triple its production capacity in 2019. 3M said the increase in production has been made possible by the addition of new equipment at its plant in Aberdeen, S.D., which manufactures N95 masks. 

Before the pandemic, 3M said the majority of its N95 masks were allocated for industrial customers. The majority of the supply is now being directed to hospitals, first responders, long-term care facilities and to build federal and local stockpiles, 3M said. 

"When the pandemic hit demand skyrocketed in healthcare, almost overnight. No longer was it just healthcare workers treating patients with influenza A or tuberculosis. In the U.S. alone, demand in hospitals rose as thousands of healthcare workers in hospitals sought respiratory protection. Outside of hospitals, new demand emerged in medical clinics, doctors' and dentists' offices, home care, skilled nursing facilities, and outpatient clinics," Mr. Post said. 

In April, the company reached an agreement with the U.S to supply FEMA with 228.4 million masks from its plants in Asia for FEMA to import from April to mid-October. 

The company said it is working with state governments, HHS and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to prioritize and redirect supplies to serve those with the most critical needs. 

"The combination of expanded importation and increased domestic production means even more 3M respirators are available to support the critical needs of U.S. healthcare workers fighting COVID-19 and support the re-opening of the economy," Mr. Post said. 

More articles on supply chain:
Connecticut senator warns of impending critical PPE shortages
Henry Ford Health System facing shortage of COVID-19 testing supplies
US labs warn they're running out of COVID-19 testing supplies


© Copyright ASC COMMUNICATIONS 2021. Interested in LINKING to or REPRINTING this content? View our policies by clicking here.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars