— Mike Roman, 3M CEO
— Mike Roman, Earnings
“After SARS in the early 2000s, we made the decision to prepare for future crises by investing in significant surge capacity at each of our respirator plants around the world. This additional capacity has largely remained idle for the last two decades, except for emergencies such as H1N1, the Japanese tsunami, and wildfires in California and Australia. When the virus broke out, we were able to immediately activate our surge capacity and maximize production to support the public health response.”
— Mike Roman, Earnings
At 3M we are dedicated to improving and transforming our supply chain to help better protect citizens.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, providing critically needed protection for health care workers, first responders, and critical infrastructure has been a top priority for 3M.
Since the start of the pandemic, 3M has been serving the needs of frontline medical workers and first responders via distribution and government-managed stockpiles
3M delivers respiratory protection to healthcare providers at the local level through national medical distributors and through FEMA, with FEMA distributing these respirators to state and local governments.
3M recognizes there are reported gaps in underserved communities, especially in rural and minority areas, and we are working with our partners to close these gaps and solve the “last mile” distribution challenges.
Better management of the current supply can help address ongoing shortages. Knowing the quantity healthcare providers have on hand at the local level and information about projected utilization rates will enable better management. The federal government should have the ability to gather these data during a pandemic, and then use the data to help address areas of need.
Outstanding orders are not the best measure of need; rather, the actual level of supply on hand – and the rate at which that supply will be used – is the best way to define need and project demand.
The key to solving the “last mile” issue is the gathering and utilization of data – and 3M is eager to work with the federal government to address this challenge and better serve all healthcare providers, including underserved areas.
The U.S. Defense Production Act (DPA) is the primary source of Presidential authority to expedite and expand the supply of resources from the U.S. industrial base to support federal agencies in response to a wide range of emergencies, including the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
3M has been directly involved with several DPA programs throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, including:
The following are key takeaways from 3M’s experience with the DPA during the COVID-19 pandemic that can help inform future U.S. government actions for a more effective response going forward:
Through global challenge of all kinds, 3M has partnered with governments and industry partners to help the world recover. In our experience, there are three key elements that make the difference between success and failure – management, manufacturing and mobility.
“It’s really about being ready for that surge in demand from whatever crisis may hit.” — Mike Roman, 3M CEO, CNBC Interview, Apr 28, 2020
The Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) – which is managed under the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) – is the United States’ largest supply of potentially life-saving pharmaceuticals and medical supplies for use in a public health emergency.
When state, local, tribal, and territorial responders request federal assistance to support their response efforts, the stockpile seeks to ensure the right medicines and supplies get to those who need them most during an emergency. Organized for scalable response to a variety of public health threats, the SNS is intended to contain enough supplies to respond to multiple large-scale emergencies simultaneously. However, the US stockpile is currently filled with products that are procured in infrequent, large purchases. As a result, the following problems can arise both prior to and during a public health emergency:
The revolving stockpile approach we suggest could include:
For respiratory protection, the SNS management system should be modified from the current model that is based on large, infrequent purchases to a "revolving" method, such as is currently utilized by the DLA. Such a system would ensure supply of PPE will be immediately available to the government when needed; products would no longer risk being expired, as they would be continually rotated; demand surges would be less problematic, due to supplies being continually maintained in the stockpile; and costs to government would be better managed over time, rather than relying on single, large purchases.
3M’s facilities in Aberdeen, South Dakota and Valley, Nebraska have been a key part of the Company’s manufacturing strategy of personal protective equipment for decades, and now more so throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. Prior to this pandemic, 3M was one of the only companies to both manufacture and sell N95 respirators in the United States.
The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) contracts awarded to 3M have allowed the Company to increase production of N95 respirators with the addition of new equipment. Construction of this new equipment began in Wisconsin in May 2020, and was built and installed in a mere 10 weeks, the fastest on record. An additional two lines were built and installed at 3M Aberdeen in November 2020. The equipment originally installed in Wisconsin will be relocated to a new 120,000 square foot expansion in the Aberdeen facility. The Company expects to hire at least 100 new employees as a result of this build.
These investments have significantly increased 3M’s capacity to produce N95 respirators in the United States – rising to more than 95 million per month by the end of 2020, quadrupling our domestic production from 2019.
3M is committed to helping teachers and students as they adapt to a new way of learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As such, we have created a series of videos which explore a variety of scientific topics.
In its continued effort to combat the COVID-19 global pandemic, 3M has provided $20 million in financial support to frontline healthcare workers, vulnerable populations disproportionately affected by the virus and medical research initiatives.
3M is addressing the COVID-19 pandemic from all angles and across all relevant stakeholders. View our FAQs, latest news and critical 3M products and resources supporting the fight against COVID-19.