A CASE FOR RESHORING
The pandemic has upended lives around the world. Not only individuals, but companies, organizations, sports teams, even the Girl Scouts. We’ve all been touched in some way. It’s like someone kicked over a rock and now we’re seeing all the icky things underneath.
The big slimy worm that was wriggling around down there in the dirt was a lack of preparedness. We’re not just talking about on an individual level (remember the toilet paper panic?) or on a government level (won’t even go there), but on a corporate level.
Hospitals couldn’t provide workers with PPE because there was a global shortage. Why were basic items like face masks, face shields, and protective gowns in short supply? It turns out everything was made in China. Well, what happens when the world effectively shuts down and we no longer have access to products produced on the other side of the globe?
I’d like to say “panic” just for dramatic flare, but that’s not what happened. We stepped up. Everyone did. Companies around the country revamped and retooled their operations to meet the national need for PPE.
Where do we go from here, though? The global market is here to stay. Does that mean the reshoring of the PPE industry is only temporary? Not likely.
Consumers and providers were reminded of the need for domestic production. When an event as overwhelming as the pandemic shuts down the entire globe, it is very important to have domestic operations in place. Many companies have shown that they could make the leap to manufacturing items that are similar to items they were already making. A few have even moved towards automation in an attempt to keep costs down for consumers.
The fact of the matter is getting consumers to see the benefit of buying domestically. It decreases risk in the supply chain because the suppliers are not an ocean away. Some states have even gotten on board. According to the Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network based in Ohio, two companies there were able to automate operations buy purchasing the necessary equipment through assistance from the state.
END OF THE TUNNEL
With vaccines getting set to roll out nationally, it looks as though we may be approaching the light at the end of the tunnel. A stronger domestic PPE market will likely be waiting at the end of that tunnel. We as a nation have certainly presented a strong case for it.