COVID-19: a return to a certain normality leads companies to reconvert
For Scott Thompson, of the Mad Laboratory distillery, there was no question of producing hydroalcoholic gel permanently .
Companies that had converted to cope with the pandemic had to return to their previous activities after the return to some normality.
For example, for Scott Thompson, founder of the Mad Laboratory distillery in Vancouver, switching from whiskey to hydroalcoholic gel was never a long-term project.
We had decided that the sale of hydroalcoholic gel was not part of our DNA, he points out. It turned out that we were right. We were hoping this was a short-term request.
He mentions that his company returned to the production of beverages at the beginning of 2022. This decision allowed him to avoid having too much stock of unsold hygiene products.
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Mr. Thompson says he does not understand his competitors who took the plunge in the spring of 2020. He acknowledges that the demand for hand sanitizer was unprecedented during the first months of the pandemic, but he hopes not to repeat a similar situation.
They thought people wanted more, more, and more. […] I was at my wit's end.
Several companies that had started manufacturing protective equipment at the start of the pandemic have had to shut down, while others have fared better.
The distillery sector, for example, seems to have fared relatively well. According to the president of the Craft Distilleries Guild of British Columbia, Tyler Dyck, all of its members have survived the pandemic. Some have had to devote up to 80% of their production to hydroalcoholic gel because of the shortage in hospitals and other public places.
Mr. Dyck says the return to beverage production has not been difficult, although the experience remains challenging. Distilleries are stuck with hundreds and thousands of liters of gel while demand is near zero, he notes, adding that barely 10% of his members have broken even making gels. /p>
Some manufacturers have reduced their inventory by selling directly to consumers. Many have retained such a bitter taste that Tyler Dyke doubts they will convert again if a new pandemic hits the country.
Nick Ngo, an executive at Sixstream Signs, vividly recalls the spring of 2020 when there were so many companies making acrylic sneeze guards.
During this period, businesses sprang up as if by magic. Anyone who knew how to use a saw made one. I didn't necessarily agree, but that's what they did.
Most of them closed their doors long before the restrictions were lifted, in particular because of supply difficulties and they which resisted the pandemic are those which, like his, offered other products before COVID-19, adds- it.
Returning to pre-pandemic operations has gone particularly well for companies that have a well-established source of materials that can be used to manufacture items that can be used both in a pandemic context and in normal times.