The outbreak of the global COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc to the global supply chain and economy. The shutdowns that ensued following the rise in cases and deaths in early March of 2020 left many scrambling for essential supplies. We can all remember the images and videos of consumers leaving the grocery store with truckloads of toilet paper and Diet Coke. Initially, many thought the reason was to hunker down to avoid the risk of infection. But what had really happened was news had spread of potential shortages in essential household items, like toilet paper, because of work stoppages and supply chain disruptions.
This unprecedented situation had forced leadership to look inward to supply basic commodities, and in many cases, their findings were troubling.
In Canada, a vast majority of the consumer goods available are imports. So when a disruption in the traditional supply chain occurred, it caused a great deal of stress to Canadian leaders and consumers. With fears of a decreasing supply becoming a reality, governments turned to local manufacturers to expand their operations and increase production at a time when much of the world had slowed to a near halt.
Being a Canadian textile manufacturer, MWG was asked to be part of the solution. As a well-established and reputable producer of PPE, MWG added to their existing FR production line and helped supply the front lines with medical personal protective equipment that had typically been imported. The demand for medical PPE had increased, as hospitals had been overwhelmed with patients and staff were being worked to their limits. Protecting the front lines was crucial and governments could no longer rely on an imported supply. Canadian manufacturers were asked to step in and fill the void for imported medical gowns and masks and replace them with a domestic source, in order to properly protect those who needed it most in 2020 and now 2021.
The ability Canadian manufacturers demonstrated to pivot and begin to produce essential items is a story of true heroism during a difficult year. Manufacturers, like MWG, reminded Canadians that there is still high value in domestic supply, and overseas production may not be as dependable as once thought. We must learn from this unique occurrence and be better equipped for future events. The importance of a reliable supply cannot be understated and further investment in Canadian manufacturing can help curb shortages and stimulate growth in a fundamental industry.