July 07, 2022
Medicom establishes domestic raw materials strategy and builds six new PPE facilities in six months to ease strain on healthcare system
Medicom employee holding up a mask. Photo: Medicom.
In March 2020, the healthcare supply chain was put under immense pressure due to the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the face of global personal protective equipment (PPE) shortages and increased demand, many medical suppliers were left scrambling to source products while adapting to new restrictions and protocols. As the pandemic ramped up and global supply chain shortages increased, suppliers had to rapidly modify their current processes and propose new solutions in order to provide essential services to hospitals and the healthcare system.
HealthPRO supplier Medicom, a world leading manufacturer and distributor of PPE and infection prevention and control solutions, reported facing tremendous challenges meeting the demand of customers worldwide. This was in part, a result of its factories in China, Taiwan, and France being requisitioned by local authorities, as well as from the adversity of general shortages and restricted access to the raw materials needed to manufacture crucial PPE.
Medicom identified “the importance of building a resilient and sustainable domestic PPE supply chain in Canada” and quickly adjusted their strategies in order to deliver viable long-term solutions to meet the needs of hospitals and patients.
“With over three decades of knowledge and expertise, as well as experience dealing with multiple previous health crises, including Avian Flu, SARS, H1N1, and Ebola, at Medicom, we are uniquely positioned with our diversified footprint and our long history of manufacturing expertise,” says Ouriel Levy, Executive Vice President, Commercial.
After signing a 10-year supply agreement with the Canadian and Quebec governments to produce 20 million N95 respirator masks and 24 million surgical masks, Medicom quickly converted a 5,600-square-meter facility in Montreal into a local production facility in July 2020. This is an impressively short timeline to source machinery, hire and train employees, and begin production.
They further leveraged their expertise in infectious disease prevention and control, and utilized their government relations team to work alongside the Canadian government to establish Meltech Innovation in June 2021. This Medicom subsidiary is dedicated to producing raw materials for surgical and respiratory masks and conducting research and development in mask material innovation.
Medicom recounts how throughout all the trials and tribulations, the driving factor for their success in mobilizing a sustainable point in the local supply chain was the determination, resilience, and collaboration within their own teams and with external partners throughout the healthcare community. As a result, Medicom was able to successfully open six facilities — one in Canada (Montreal), one in the US, one in the UK, one in Singapore, and two in France — in just six months and not only secure historical demand for their key clients but plant supply chain roots in a local landscape to help ensure security for the healthcare community in the future. Furthermore, Medicom has recently announced they will be opening yet another Canadian-based manufacturing facility, this time focused on nitrile gloves, in London, Ontario with production beginning in 2024.
In sum, this is a recollection of how the Medicom team was able to overcome supply chain volatility by coming up with a new raw material supply process and establish local manufacturing capabilities to meet the demand of and support the Canadian healthcare system in its time of need.