Cory Levins, director of business development, Air Sea Containers, offers his advice to ventilator companies with the aim of helping them cope during the pandemic.
As the COVID-19 global pandemic spreads throughout the world, ventilator companies have tried to ramp up their production in an attempt to help supply countries with this life-saving device. Coronavirus has been found to attack patient’s respiratory systems, making it difficult to breathe, and for those who already suffer from respiratory problems, this symptom could be life-threatening. Here are some ways companies can manage the uptick in demand.
The ventilator shortage
Ventilators are devices that help patients breathe, and there are a few different types that could be useful during this pandemic. Non-invasive ventilators are the first line of defence while invasive ventilators are used in more dire circumstances. The non-invasive ventilators do not use a tube to insert oxygen into your lungs’ airways. Instead, these machines merely help your body to pull oxygen in with the use of either positive or negative pressure. Invasive machines, on the other hand, must be connected to your airways and pump oxygen into your body while pulling carbon dioxide out. Without plenty of these machines on hand, hospitals will have a difficult time treating patients with the most severe symptoms.
Support from global supply chains
One of the most important factors in terms of ramping up ventilator production is having access to the specific parts manufacturers need to make the machines. This may require companies to look outside of their typical supply chain as ventilator companies can work with many other subcontractors to pull together all the necessary parts. To prepare for the increased demand, ventilator companies should be looking for new sources of essential parts and determine how quickly they can receive shipments which need to be properly transported using protective packages like air pillows. Expand your supply chain by researching and contacting potential providers that can quickly get materials to manufacturers. This is also a time to get creative. Consider which items or tools might be in the shortest supply and determine if there is any material that can be used as a substitute.
Getting supplies quicker
As supplies are in higher demand, the production chain will more than likely be slowed down as companies try to keep up with an increase in orders. To overcome this, ventilator manufacturers should attempt to seek out shipping routes that might deliver more quickly than their usual provider. Map out different routes between companies producing parts and the manufacturing home base to expedite shipping. Those companies producing essential parts should also be considering how they can ramp up production and potentially use their facilities to create or secure multiple parts ventilator companies will need.
It’s difficult to know exactly how many ventilators will be needed throughout the world as the number of those infected continues to increase. Most countries have implemented some type of social distancing and/or lockdown to limit the level of interaction people have with those outside of their own home. Some fear a second wave will spread through, again changing the number of ventilators required.
The best way for manufacturers to stay prepared to continue seeking out information from high-level medical experts predicting the number of ventilators each country will need based on current virus spread trajectories. In this case, it’s better to be overprepared, assuming a large quantity of ventilators will still be in demand as these machines may save the lives of many. Having a solid understanding of how the demand will proceed will help manufacturers create a production plan for the next several months.
Shipping ventilators and parts
Because ventilators are such a vital piece of equipment right now, it is imperative companies shipping these machines, and the parts needed to make them, are taking the proper precautions. Using generator storage boxes to transport oxygen and filling packaging of delicate items with air pillows will help keep the machinery safe and usable once it arrives at its destination. With such a shortage of life-saving equipment, transporting the items with no damage is one of the ways companies can meet the demand and deliver reliable equipment.
The next 12-to-16 months will be different and difficult for everyone. For now, ventilators continue to be an essential piece of equipment healthcare professionals require to give their COVID-19 patients the best possible treatment. Companies manufacturing these products need to be prepared by locating multiple outlets that can provide the parts they need and try to project the demand increase for the next several months. Before shipping these machines to their destination, companies need to pay special attention to using generator storage boxes and other protective packing objects to ensure the ventilators arrive in one piece.