As the current pandemic continues to grow, claim lives, and spread fear, many companies are shifting their businesses to help in the fight to flatten the curve. From computer companies who are suddenly manufacturing surgical masks to a vacuum company that developed a new ventilator product in just 10 days, these companies are quickly shifting their business strategies and even quickly learning how to develop new products to help in the fight.
In one case, a major fast-food chain is even loaning employees to Aldi as demand for grocery store items surges.
Christian Siriano: From High Fashion To Mask Manufacturer
On March 30, 2020, the team at Christian Siriano delivered 1,500 masks to healthcare workers in New York. The fashion designer also revealed plans to ramp up mask production to 500 per day within the next week.
Siriano had previously said on Twitter that the creation of masks was a natural step for his team. When delivering the masks on Monday, Siriano thanked his workers who are putting in extra time as they continue to fulfill regular orders on top of their mask-making efforts.
Dyson Developed A Ventilator In 10 Days
Dyson answered the call for ventilators by designing and building an entirely new product in just 10 days. The “CoVent” can be built at volume, leading the UK government to place an order for 10,000 units.
“This new device can be manufactured quickly, efficiently and at volume,” company founder James Dyson revealed. The ventilators are expected to be ready by early April and Dyson has promised to donate 5,000 units at no cost to hospitals that are in desperate need of additional units. Now the company just needs government approval to start shipping the ventilators to hospitals in need.
Hanes Is Making Masks For Healthcare Workers
Apparently, Hanes was one of the first companies to recognize the need for more medical masks at hospitals. The company announced on March 21, 2020, that it would retrofit factories to manufacture life-saving masks.
The company is shifting a sizeable amount of its workforce to combating the current pandemic. Hanes is working directly with government agencies to ensure its new masks are delivered to the hospitals that need them the most.
Razer Shifts From Computers To Masks
We’ve read a lot about clothing manufacturers shifting gears to make masks but what about tech companies? High-end computer manufacturer Razer threw their hat into the ring by announcing plans to shift from making laptops and computer accessories to surgical masks.
The company’s CEO tweeted that Razer plans on quickly manufacturing one million surgical masks which will be distributed to hospital workers who are tirelessly working on the frontlines of the pandemic.
Claremont Distilled Spirits Is Making Hand Sanitizer Instead Of Alcohol
It’s not just big corporations doing their part in the fight against the pandemic. Claremont Distillery, located in Fairfield, New Jersey, has shifted from making alcohol to producing hand sanitizer.
The company’s owner, Tim Koether, converted his liquor distillery to produce sanitizer and he’s giving away the product to the general public for free. Other distilleries around the country have also turned to hand sanitizer production as a way to do their part.
New Balance Completely Shifts Gears
From shoes to protective masks? That’s what the team at New Balance decided was necessary as an increasing number of medical workers said they were dangerously reusing masks because of a sudden shortage in the life-saving protective gear.
The company has also donated $2 million in the form of nonprofit grants that are meant to help local and regional communities who have been hardest hit by the virus. On March 27 the company wrote, “We are producing prototypes for face masks in our Lawrence, MA manufacturing facility and hope to scale production using our other New England factories soon.”
Nomad Is Leveraging Its China Contacts To Help
Nomad is known for developing various lines of technology accessories. During the pandemic, the company has found a unique way to assist medical workers. The company is leveraging its strong relationship with suppliers in China to more quickly obtain much needed medical masks and various other supplies.
The company says it “has reprioritized our operations to provide medical supplies, like face masks, to those fighting this pandemic. We’re beginning to take orders today.” The company notes, for example, “Our iPhone case factory constructed a dedicated cleanroom for production of masks.”
Gtech Makes Ventilators With ‘Off The Shelf’ Parts
Gtech is an appliance and vacuum maker in the U.K. and now the company can add ‘ventilator manufacturer’ to its list of accomplishments. The company recently received a request to build 30,000 ventilators in just two weeks and the company answered the call. The company’s team quickly developed a ventilator (prototype pictured) that can be built using stock materials and off-the-shelf pre-assembled parts.
The company said it can produce 100 units per day. Gtech is also making its design available for free with the hopes of ramping up worldwide production to thousands of units per day. Regulators still need to approve the design before they can be used.
LVMH: From Luxury Brands To Hand Sanitizers
LVMH is a giant in the high-fashion industry. The company owns such brands as Louis Vuitton, Bulgari, TAG Heuer, and many others. In the face of a global pandemic, the company announced plans to convert its perfume production infrastructure.
Instead of helping us all smell like a million dollars, the company plans to produce hand sanitizer which can be distributed to locations all over the world during a time of extreme shortage for the product.
Woodchuck USA: From Wood Products To Face Shields In One Day
Ben VandenWymelenberg started Woodchuck USA with a simple goal, producing sustainably sourced handcrafted wood products such as phone cases. Now, the company is producing 30,000 face shields per day.
What’s so amazing about this small business is that it built a face shield to Johns Hopkins Medicine’s standards in just a few hours. Within 24 hours the company started producing 30,000 units per day. The masks not only help protect against splatter but also protect the face masks many medical workers are currently being forced to re-use. There is currently a massive shortage of face shields.
Skyrora Shifts From Building Rockets To Manufacturing Hand Sanitizer
Skyrora was launched in 2017 with the hopes of joining the likes of SpaceX in the commercial space race. The company has now, temporarily, shifted to the manufacturing of hand sanitizer.
This isn’t just a partial effort for the company as it shows all human resources and its entire working capital into a COVID-19 response. The company is focused on producing hand sanitizer that meets World Health Organization (WHO) standards.
Brandon Maxwell Goes Beyond Masks, Will Also Produce Gowns
A lot of the current focus within the fight against COVID-19, especially among clothing manufacturers, is based around the manufacturing of protective masks. Designer Brandon Maxwell is going one step further, instructing workers to shift between mask and gown production.
With medical workers being forced to “recycle” their most basic protective gear, the gowns will add another layer of protection for both medical workers and the patients they are seeing on a daily basis.
Eddie Bauer Is Producing N95 And Surgical Masks
Eddie Bauer’s headquarters are located in Bellevue, Washington. Seattle was the first area in the United States to be hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic and the company wasted no time in offering support for its city neighbor.
The company shifted production in March and quickly developed 5,000 N95 masks. The company plans to ship another 15,000 N95 masks in early April. N95 masks provide the most protection for medical workers. The company is also producing surgical masks.
Canada Goose Is Manufacturing Gowns
Canada Goose is most known for its $1,000 parkas but the company has dropped some of its high-end production in favor of potentially life-saving medical gowns.
The company announced it was opening two previously closed Canadian manufacturing facilities and staffing each plant with 50 workers who will produce scrubs and gowns for local health-care workers. The company is donating 100% of the scrubs and gowns. In perhaps the most Canadian move on our list, CEO Dani Reiss is also giving three months of his salary to a fund that will help employees affected by store and manufacturing closures.
L.L. Bean: From Dog Bed Lining To Masks
L.L. Bean is no stranger to weathering a storm. The company has survived the Great Depression, two world wars, and countless financial crises. Now, the company is helping to fight a pandemic. Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology are testing the company’s dog bed liners which they hope will make for excellent mask materials.
The company says its production teams are capable of “constructing and distributing anything we throw at them, and they care deeply about doing the right thing, so sacrificing the production of Bean Boots and Boat & Totes to lend a critical hand making medical masks, gowns and booties is exactly what they wanted to do.”
Vauxhall Shifts From Auto Manufacturing To Ventilator Production
Vauxhall is in the business of making vehicles but the England-based company recently shifted gears from automobile manufacturing to ventilator production.
The company is supporting the greater ventilator production community by 3-D printing components that are needed for constructing ventilators. The move allows the company to avoid additional layoffs while helping in the fight against COVID-19. Ford and GM in the United States are also believed to be working on similar goals.
1083 Has Gone From Jeans To Mask Manufacuring
French bluejeans manufacturer 1083 saw demand for its product shrink quickly when stores throughout France were forced to close down under government orders. It wasn’t long before a group of doctors approached the company about producing medical masks.
The company received sanitary mask instructions from a local hospital and within hours they were producing the product. Word quickly spread about the company’s efforts and now the company is giving away the masks to medical workers.
ZF Friedrichshafen Bought A Failing Company To Keep Production Going
ZF Friedrichshafen is in the automotive supplies business but that hasn’t stopped the German company from getting into face mask production. Instead of trying to figure out the production of mask on its own, the company bought a faltering firm in China.
After acquiring the company, ZF Friedrichshafen had all of the machines from the company sent to its own factory. The company said it expects to be producing 100,000 masks per day by the start of April.
McDonald’s Germany Has Employees Working For Adli
In Germany, the sudden rush on grocery stores created a customer service headache for Aldi. In response, McDonald’s formed an agreement with Aldi that refers workers from the burger chain to the retailer’s stores “quickly and unbureaucratically,”
With restaurant workers losing hours because of a downshift in fast food orders in Germany, the move helps redeploy restaurant staff who will be able to return to their job at McDonald’s when the crisis has run its course.
Ralph Lauren Donates Money And Manufacturing Facilities
Ralph Lauren is one of the most recognizable American fashion brands in the United States and it’s sticking with its often patriotic theme by donating $10 million to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
The company is also using its large-scale production capabilities to quickly manufacture surgical masks and gowns. The company’s aim is to provide those materials directly to medical workers who are most in need. The company, like others on our list, still needs government approval to supply medical works with its final product.