Study: 2,755 US Plants Can Make Goods to Fight COVID-19

April 3, 2020

4 Min Read
Study: 2,755 US Plants Can Make Goods to Fight COVID-19
A study found that over 2000 manufacturing plants in the US can be converted to produce goods that will help combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Image courtesy of Pixabay

A study recently conducted by Moody’s-affiliated market intelligence firm Four Twenty Seven identified 2,755 manufacturing plants in the US that could be deployed to produce personal protective equipment like respirators and face masks and other medical equipment such as ventilators that are used in the fight against the novel coronavirus. 

“As states and countries strive to identify the most efficient responses to an unprecedented global public health crisis, there is an opportunity to leverage existing capabilities,” the firm wrote in a press release announcing the results of the survey. “Understanding which companies may have tools that can help support response efforts can help inform conversations around addressing this crisis.”

Initially looking at news articles on companies that are reconfiguring their operations to manufacture products used by medical personnel during the COVID-19 crisis, researchers identifying several SIC industries that could help to fill supply chain gaps. Hand sanitizers can be manufactured at facilities that produce distilled and blended liquors and wines and distilled alcoholic beverages, as well as plants that make perfumes, cosmetics, and other toilet preparations, according to the study. 

PPE like masks and hospital gowns can be produced at textile goods plants, like those operated by Hanes and Fruit of the Loom, and yarn spinning mills. The researchers posit that manufacturers of pharmaceutical preparations can retool their sites to make COVID-19 test kids. Plants for household vacuum cleaners and motor vehicle and passenger car bodies can produce ventilators and ventilator components. 

Examining a database of about 1 million manufacturing facilities owned by large, publicly-traded firms, Four Twenty Seven found that 11,322 plants across the globe fit into these SIC industry categories. Of that number, there were 2,755 in the US.  

Several prominent American firms like GM and Dow have announced plans to shift their operations to producing medical equipment or products like sanitizer in response to the pandemic. Other firms that already make PPE and medical equipment, like 3M, are working to increase their capacity

“A few manufacturers in the perfume, automobiles, and electronics sectors have responded by repurposing their facilities to produce equipment that will help deal with the public health crisis,” Four Twenty Seven said. “These companies demonstrate the potential for more widespread public-private partnerships during this global crisis.”

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