by Carl Feinberg, CEO, CRITICA PPE
International shipping lines froze in February 2020, trapping critical supplies on or just short of the shipping dock, with no way to move them. Global manufacturing in Asia ground to a halt. Prices skyrocketed while trust in product safety plummeted and delivery commitments were broken. The opportunists and grifters swooped in to gouge desperate buyers. Instances of deceit and flat-out theft were not uncommon.
This was just the beginning, with no relief in sight [LINK TO STUDY]. Desperation and panic became the prevailing market conditions for PPE supplies. At the same time, clear-headed thinking, smart and effective leadership and decisive policy-making were in conspicuously short supply.
Political leaders, public policymakers and health care experts were all at a loss. They were ill-prepared and ill-equipped to deal with a global pandemic and the cascade of adverse business consequences that resulted.
During the globalization era, a great deal of domestic manufacturing moved offshore along with hundreds of thousands of American jobs. This in turn idled manufacturing plants, leaving them to rust and die.
1967 was the highpoint for capacity utilization in domestic manufacturing. The impact dating from 1967 through April 2020 has been enormous. According to Trading Economics, capacity utilization in domestic manufacturing plummeted from a high of 89.39% to the current level of 64.89%.
The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System pegs this G.17 number a bit higher at 70%. But both figures clearly show the US has the slack capacity to manufacture far more than we do currently.
Much of that capacity can be cost-effectively converted to the manufacture of desperately needed PPE supplies to address not just this current crisis demand, but over the long-term.
At Critica PPE, we recognize the solution to critical short-falls in PPE supplies requires a change in the way we do business. The starting point is to shift both domestic manufacturing priorities and the perceptions of the domestic buyers of PPE. This will not happen in a vacuum. Rather, it requires collaboration, cooperation and partnerships between buyers and sellers.
These developments and innovations will not be the entire solution to the PPE crisis but they will be essential elements of a permanent solution. Other factors such as government regulations, agency engagement, access to capital and financing options will all play a significant role as well.
Critica PPE will work in collaboration with both manufacturers and customers to develop beneficial, long-term relationships for today as well as the long-term, post-pandemic future.
Critica PPE provides customers with access to high-quality, domestically manufactured products through a secure and reliable domestic supply chain that is designed to meet their unique needs and requirements. Critica PPE works with manufacturers to develop long-term, recurring sales contracts. We also provide valuable market research, guidance, pricing information and customer insight, among many other things.
This is the Critica PPE commitment – To be an essential element of a new, innovative, domestic PPE supply chain solution for US markets. Now and in the future.