Stymied by the galloping COVID-19’s global hostile impacts, companies of different interests have come to a point to convert their manufacturing facilities to produce masks and fight against this century’s most challenging acid test- COVID-19. As long as an effective vaccine does not come, to strengthen the preventive measures of the mass people and medical personnel, many companies are switching from their conventional products to face mask and PPE manufacturing.
Today we are going to talk about five companies that have completely changed their trajectory to make this medical equipment to help combat the shortage.
If we think about a brand that produces everyday basic apparel ranging from T-shirts to underwear, the name of HanesBrands will inevitably come on the top of our mind. This widely recognized American clothing company is now shifting its focus to producing cotton face masks in the United States. With about 1,200 brand stores closed worldwide, for the time being, this brand is now focusing primarily to the production of their FDA-approved all-cotton masks.
Not only Hanes, but a consortium of some companies will also work hand in hand with this brand. Fruit of the Loom, SanMar, Beverly Knits and the National Council of Textile Organizations led by a yarn manufacturing company called Parkdale Mills America will emulate the FDA approved design which is shared by Hanes.
Matt Hall, a spokesperson for Hanes, told Today, “The company expects to ramp up to the production of 1.5 million masks weekly, and the consortium as a whole is expected to ramp up to the production of 5 million to 6 million masks weekly using Hanes Brands’ design and patterns.”
Gap Inc., a company traditionally known for its laid-back basics and classic denim is going through some vicissitudes in these Corona days. But it has not stopped doing philanthropic works and keeping its business goodwill.
This company based in San Francisco which owns brands such as Athleta, Banana Republic and Old Navy in its wings, is using its factories to make masks, gowns and scrubs for medical personnel. The retailer decided to temporarily close its company-owned and operated stores across North America from March 19.
The brand announced on its Twitter, “Our teams are connecting some of the largest hospital networks in Calif. w/ our vendors to deliver PPE supplies while we pivot resources so factory partners can make masks, gowns & scrubs for healthcare workers on the front lines.”
The company which is closing the difference between generation gap is also closing the gap between its manufacturing partners and working to figure out a way to use its leftover garments to produce more masks and protective gear for hospitals and workers to mitigate the scarcity of supplies.
The name Inditex creates a picture of a behemoth retailer in our mind. This Spanish giant is the owner of brands like Zara and Bershka. Just like Hanes and Gap, Inditex is also focusing resources on helping to combat against PPE shortage. Hence, they are producing protective equipment and making a delivery at least once a week directly to Spanish health authorities, who are dealing with one of the biggest outbreaks.
The company said it had already donated 10,000 protective face masks till March 19 as masks are currently the most urgently requested medical supply along with gloves, protective glasses, caps, and face shields. The company also pledged to start making medical gowns once they manage to source medical grade materials and fabrics. For the other products in demand, the company is investigating the possibility of switching some of their textile-manufacturing capacity over to the production of health materials, involving their manufacturing experts to that end.
Mostly known for compelling clothing, shoes and accessories for men, women and kids, the luxury department store chain Nordstrom, based in Seattle, is advancing with a vision of producing 1 million face masks for the health workers of the U.S. Partnering with Kaas, Tailored and Province they announced to produce more than 1,00,000 masks.
They also partnered with Ascension, one of the largest hospital networks in the U.S. and are swiftly overcoming the obstacles between vision and reality of achieving the 1 million mask production goal. “Everyone across the globe is feeling the impacts of COVID-19 — including us at Nordstrom.
During this challenging moment in time, we are looking at unique ways to help in our communities and highlighting how others can join together to make a difference,” Nordstrom said in a press release. “We are the largest employer of tailors in North America, so we are learning how to leverage those capabilities to help with the medical supply shortage,” they added.
Their masks are made, sanitized and distributed throughout the hospital networks. Moreover, this brand has a huge reputation for empowering employees and supporting the policies that empower them to do what is best for customers. That is why they are not only working for the health workers but also ensuring the safety of their employees who are still working to fulfill online orders. For that case they are making additional 60,000 reusable face covers which are keeping their business goodwill.
Brooks Brothers, famously known for outfitting Abraham Lincoln and introducing the ready-to-wear suit to American customers is America’s oldest retailer. This 202-year-old retailer is in the process of converting its New York, North Carolina and Massachusetts factories from manufacturing ties, shirts and suits to now making masks. They plan to use these facilities to produce up to 1,50,000 masks per day on an ongoing basis.
To develop prototypes, the company has partnered with leading universities recognized as centers for excellence for both textiles and technology. Brooks Brothers has been working closely with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to speed up the approval process of their prototypes.
In a press release Claudio Del Vecchio, the Chief Executive Officer of Brooks Brothers said, “We are deeply grateful to the medical personnel at the frontlines who are fighting the pandemic, and we are honored to do our part and join our peers in retail to provide protective masks that our health care system critically needs.” In addition to producing up to 150,000 masks per day, the company also wants to produce protective gowns.