As the world faces a national pandemic, businesses are facing circumstances never before seen. With factories being forced to shut down as workers quarantine in their homes, production has come to a halt, and no production means no products. Without products, businesses are left without a way to make a profit.
Although this is unfortunate, many companies are finding new uses for their factory spaces. Brands are diversifying by targeting new markets with new products: masks, gloves, hospital gowns, and ventilators. Though they are not making a direct profit, companies are focusing their efforts on the healthcare industry and the good they can do during these despairing times.
It is no surprise that the start of the baseball season has been postponed indefinitely due to the COVID-19 outbreak. In Scranton, Pennsylvania, Fanatics, a company that is known for manufacturing official MLB jerseys, has reopened its doors and created a new use for all those jerseys that would otherwise go to waste. Three weeks ago, Fanatics Executive Chairman Michael Rubin teamed up with MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred to announce that the Scranton Fanatics factory would be producing hospital gowns and masks out of the fabric that was originally intended to be used for baseball uniforms.
Rubin stated, “The COVID-19 crisis has compelled our country to be more collaborative, innovative, and strategic than ever before. As the demand for masks and gowns have surged, we’re fortunate to have teamed up with Major League Baseball to find a unique way to support our frontline workers in this fight to stem the virus…”
The Scranton manufacturing plant produced one million masks and gowns, with the hope that “this effort can play a part in coming together as a community to help us through this challenging situation,” spoken by Manfred.
Since the CDC announced that Americans should be wearing masks when it is absolutely necessary for them to leave their homes, citizens have scrambled to find anything they can use to protect their mouths and noses. Khloe Kardashian’s clothing brand, Good American, saw this as their opportunity to diversify. They listed denim face masks for sale on their website in three different colors made from the materials that would be used to make jeans, pledging to donate one mask to a local organization for every mask purchased. This provides consumers a way to stay healthy and stylish! Other fashion brands, including Ralph Lauren, Canada Goose, and Gap, have also published statements saying they would be focusing their production efforts on materials desperately needed in the healthcare industry.
The auto industry has also risen to the occasion. Michigan-based Ford has teamed up with General Electric Healthcare to produce much needed ventilators at a Ford factory. Additionally, the American car maker is working with 3M to produce Powered Air-Purifying Respirators, in which the seat fans from the F-150 pickup truck will be used. Rolls Royce has also committed to producing ventilators.
Though times are tough, these companies, along with many others, are showing their American spirit by diversifying their business. They are focusing on new markets (the healthcare industry and health-conscious Americans) as well as producing new products (masks, gowns, ventilators, and medical products of the like). Even though we are forced to be apart, this diversification is bringing American businesses together.
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