COVID-19 and Looking Forward: How the Plastics Market is Evolving During the Pandemic

COVID-19 and Looking Forward: How the Plastics Market is Evolving During the Pandemic

Manufacturing operations put on hold. Networking events and conventions canceled or rescheduled for virtual participation. People sent home. Unemployment spikes nationwide. These are only a few of the headlines and realities we have been dealing within the wake of COVID-19.

Thankfully, during this time, Amco Polymers has remained completely active, agile, and operational as an “essential” business. We have been working closely with manufacturers and our suppliers to provide much-needed aid to industries such as healthcare and food packaging.

As we come into June 2020, we want to assess the status of the plastics distribution industry during the outbreak and moving forward.

Industry Updates

Even though COVID-19 has put stress on the plastics supply chain and manufacturing markets, it has given the industry the chance to show-up and contribute to the fight against COVID-19.

Across the United States, plastics companies have mobilized to help provide much needed materials to the healthcare sector, including: N95 respirators, personal protection masks, face shields, ventilator parts and plastic vials for COVID-19 test kits.

As a part of the Ravago Americas company, we are helping to meet the urgent demand for polymers and chemicals used in critical products for the diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19 to protect those on the front lines. Read more here.

Supply Disruptions

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on small-to medium-sized manufacturers – both production and tooling. Studies show that nearly two-thirds of those shops surveyed are operating at some level of reduced capacity or have been closed entirely. Furthermore, of the shops that are closed, about 70% expect to remain closed for more than one month. (Note: the study was based on survey responses of 320 manufacturing facilities).

Industries that are feeling the impact most are the automotive and home appliance sectors. They have the lowest operating levels of 28% and 57% respectively and, on average, those shops in automotive have laid off 41% of its workforce. Additionally, across all manufacturing processes, companies have indicated that utilization has dropped from as little as 18 percentage points to as much as 35 percentage points.

Adjusting to COVID-19, but staying agile

The plastics industry has adjusted to the stay-at-home and social distancing mandates as well. With travel limited, most professionals are attending virtual meetings to discuss the future of the plastics industry. Tradeshows are either cancelled, re-scheduled or quickly converting into a virtual webinar format. For instance, the Plastics Industry Association Fly-in & Spring Board Meeting, initially scheduled for March 24-26 in Washington, D.C., has been cancelled and a new date is TBD.

Factories and manufacturing sites that require essential workers have also adjusted accordingly. As per the guidelines, workers must stand 6-feet apart and wear a mask. Likewise, office-based staff must work from home. In this way, plants have been able to stay operational and agile, but also put the safety of their staff and employees at the forefront.

Amco’s response to COVID-19

From our bulletin: As an “essential” business, the Amco Polymers Team stands ready to help and assist our customers who require product and support in manufacturing components and finished goods that support the essential functions outlined by our local, state and federal government.

The health and safety of our employees remains paramount and we are closely following the Center for Disease Control guidelines for maintaining a safe and healthy workplace. Our prevention and contingency plans have been carefully thought out to make sure we protect our employees while continuing to run our facilities and operations.

Amco’s management team has been in constant communication with our suppliers, warehouses, and logistics service providers to ensure continuity in our supply chain while maintaining the necessary inventory and service capability for customers that produce essential goods such as personal protective equipment, medical devices, health & hygiene products, food packaging, etc.

Helping PMT Donate Mask Straps for Critical Healthcare Workers

As COVID-19 unfolds, we continue to find more ways to contribute to helping the cause. On June 5, PMT presented a donation of 1,400 custom mask straps to Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) to aid critical healthcare workers during COVID-19. These mask straps, also known as ear savers, attach to each elastic loop on a face mask to ease pressure and friction on the back of the ears. We worked closely with PMT and other suppliers by donating plastic resin for these ear savers. We are happy we could help in this small, meaningful way to help improve face mask fit for essential healthcare workers.

Providing peace of mind for your supply chain is of the utmost importance to us, and we will continually strive to work together as we navigate the uncharted waters of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In these uncertain times, we want to assure our customers and networks that we are here for you. Whether it’s agile resin distribution or flexible staff and customer service, we are still delivering peace of mind with you in mind during COVID-19.

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