During the coronavirus pandemic, corporations have been reacting to ensure business continuity, find new systems to generate revenues, as well as to contribute to the health crisis. A worldwide phenomenon of companies reconverting production facilities and R&D capabilities to support the fight against Covid-19 has been witnessed across industries.
In Italy, 102 companies have been eligible for Cura Italia’s incentives, the measure launched by the Italian government which, with an endowment of €50 million, favors the production of masks and other medical and personal protective equipment (fans, gowns, disinfectants and diagnostic kits). Of the 102 firms: 65 submitted project requests come from companies that have decided to convert their factories and 37 are planning to expand their production sites. Among the companies that requested the incentives, only 23% belong to the medical equipment and health devices sector, while 26% are from the textile and fashion, 23% from manufacturing and crafts, 14% from the chemical and pharmaceutical sectors, and 8% form the services and ICT sector.
Ferrari and Fiat FCA engaged in the fight against the new coronavirus by supporting the production of valves for lung respirators and components for protective masks in their plants. Mares spa, an Italian manufacturer of diving equipment, is converting its snorkel masks into continuous positive pressure mechanical ventilation. The modified snorkel mask serves, attached to the oxygen, both as a ventilator and as protection for public assistance workers.
In the Italian textile and fashion sector, companies from Geox to Gucci, from Prada to Valentino and H&M, passing through realities like Moschino, engaged in the support of the health emergency linked to the coronavirus. Among the initiatives, the Prada group started in March the production of 80 thousand gowns and 110 thousand masks to be used by health personnel. Likewise, the Armani Group converted all of its Italian production facilities to the production of disposable gowns for healthcare workers. Similarly, also the textile group Calzedonia has converted some of its plants in Italy and Croatia to the production of masks and gowns.
Other examples of Italian companies supporting the fight against coronavirus are: Piave Maitex (manufacturer of stretch fabrics for costumes, underwear and sportswear), Boccadamo (jewelry), Fabi (historical shoe manufacturer), Idea Plast, Valigeria Roncato and Meca2 (three companies specializing in the production of suitcases), the Santini knitwear factory, Lamborghini, Fippi (baby diapers).
Firms in the spirits sector have also decided to contribute with their “raw material” to reinforce the availability of disinfectants in hospitals, healthcare facilities and medical practices. From Puerto Rico, where Bacardi produces rum, to the Scottish BrewDog distillery and the Assodistil appeal in Italy.
In the UK, the liquor brand 58 Gin stopped distilling small-batch of their hand-crafted gin and started producing hand sanitizer, labeled “Hand Gin-itizer”. The Vacuum-maker company, Dyson, has produced 10,000 ventilators for the British government, switching production from making machines that suck to ones that blow, and Royal Mint has engaged in the production of plastic visors for the UK healthcare system.
In France, the famous luxury group LVMH, has converted its facilities used for making perfumes and cosmetics for brands such as Christian Dior, Guerlain and Givenchy, to the production of sanitizer.
In Japan the electronics firm Sharp that has adapted facilities designed for the production of LCD display panels to the production of surgical mask. In the same way, the Chinese carmaker SGMW and electronics corporation Foxconn started producing face masks in February.
In the US, the White House invoked the Defense Production Act to force some companies like General Motors to manufacture ventilators, nonetheless the majority of firms involved in the production of medical equipment have willingly switched production plants to support the cause. Following the government request, GM started in April the fabrication of ventilators as part of the American Department of Health and Human Services $489,4million contract that will see the carmaker producing 30,000 ventilators.
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