Ohio Manufacturing Alliance achieves early success in fight against COVID-19

COLUMBUS – The Ohio Manufacturing Alliance to Fight COVID-19 announced a team of Ohio manufacturers will make 750,000 to 1 million face shields in the next five weeks to help combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

“These face shields will make a difference as we fight this invisible enemy,” Gov. Mike DeWine said. “The Ohio Manufacturing Alliance sent out a call for help producing (personal protective equipment), and more than 1,500 manufacturing companies responded. This reinforces what we know about Ohio companies; they are generous and will answer the call when needed. Together, we are going to protect our protectors and strengthen our manufacturing sector.”

Face shields are a priority to protect frontline workers from COVID-19 infection, and many companies are interested in making them. The face shields will be added to the Ohio Department of Health stockpile.

“Ohio historically has a deep industrial base and is a manufacturing powerhouse,” Eric Burkland, president of The Ohio Manufacturers’ Association, said. “Because of embedded know-how, Ohio manufacturers are able to pivot to retool and repurpose their operations to help meet the immediate need for personal protective equipment and other products needed in the fight against COVID-19. The innovation and responsiveness of our manufacturers – and their supply chains – are bearing fruit immediately and will be critical to the recovery of the state.”

In partnership with the alliance, JobsOhio is connecting and aligning resources through its network partners to help companies accelerate their ability to produce personal protective equipment while leveraging its business relationships in order to move this overall effort forward more efficiently and effectively.

Hundreds of thousands of high-quality, durable, reusable face shields will be shipped from Hudson-based Little Tikes – a manufacturer that normally produces plastic toys. That final assembly culminates an entire supply chain of 19 manufacturers, three hospitals and multiple additional partners pulled together by the alliance in a matter of days to make the protective equipment.

“Pulling together a complex supply chain often takes nine months to a year or longer, but through the commitment of these Ohio manufacturers, we have done it in about a week,” said Ethan Karp, president and CEO of Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network. “The project highlights the potential for Ohio manufacturers to pull together quickly to make a difference in battling COVID-19.”

The team effort includes companies from around Ohio with expertise in die-cutting, injection molding, tool production and assembly, along with a plastic supplier. Final assembly will be performed at the Little Tikes manufacturing plants.

To date, more than 1,500 manufacturers have contacted the alliance looking to help in some capacity.