Personal protective equipment shortages raged on at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic last year as demand for masks, gloves, gowns and more surged alongside efforts to slow the spread of the highly contagious virus.
While the White House claimed the "worst of the pandemic" was "winding down" in a June update from the Council of Economic Advisors, logistical nightmares within the supply chain continue with the mess that is labor shortages, hiked prices, delayed shipments, stranded containers and a rapid growth of consumer demand.
These "horrific challenges," as ChemSpec President and CEO David Moreland had put it at the International Elastomer Conference in Pittsburgh, are found in virtually every market, and companies don't see this supply snafu subsiding anytime soon.
And as U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials have seized disposable gloves over forced labor allegations from companies like Top Glove in March and Supermax in October, it's no wonder the U.S. has boosted initiatives to onshore PPE production.
During a panel discussion hosted as part of Michelin's Movin'On panel, Francois-Philippe Champagne, Canada's minister of innovation science and industry, said countries are switching from supply chain efficiency mentality to supply chain "resiliency," noting microchips, batteries and biomanufacturing with a prioritization of PPE.
" 'Never again' is what we are saying as a government. 'Never again will we be in the same position,' " he had said of supply shortages across markets.