Essay on Manufacture and Supply of Face Masks in the UK

Published: 2021/11/16
Number of words: 1797

Part A

1.0 Introduction

The COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated the wearing of face masks in public space as preventative measure to the spread of the virus. Most countries have gone into lockdown as a way of preventing any social contact that can increase the spread of coronavirus (Cheng, Lam and Leung, 2020). As such, the demand for face coverings has risen across many countries in the world, especially within the United Kingdom. As a strategy to ensure that the public wears face masks, most countries have imposed legislation compelling everyone to ensure social distance and wear face masks. It is important to examine the manufacturing of face masks in the UK to understand the scope of operations, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic (Allison et al., 2020). Equally, it is important to examine operational aspects of the supply chain amid the pandemic. Exploring the manufacturing and supply of face masks in the UK will help get a deeper insight to important economic concepts.

2.0 Manufacturing of Face Masks in the UK

The fact that wearing of face masks has been made mandatory in most countries of the world has led to an increased in their demand. There is a need to meet the rising demand in the market hence the need for more manufacturing (Cheng, Lam and Leung, 2020). In the UK, manufacturing of face masks is done by different players in the country including private businesses, government sponsored manufacturing, the fact that the government requires people to be wearing face masks in pubic as they ease lockdown restrictions means more masks. It is important to note that some the masks sold in the country have been imported and donated from other countries.

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2.1 Private manufacturing of Face Masks in the UK

There are various companies in the UK that manufacture medical equipments and face masks within the country. Such companies are playing a crucial role in supplementing the high demand that is being experienced on a global front (Javid, Weekes and Matheson, 2020). It is important to note that with the high demand, the government or imported supplies might not be able to meet the rising demand. There is a need to license more companies that can increase the production of face masks in the UK to meet the increasing demand. Examples of firms manufacturing face masks in the UK to meet the high demand include Amphenol Invotec, Brandon Medical, Cardiff University Parc Institute of Manufacturing, and Dextra Group. The private sector is doing a great job to ensure the demand is handled without risking supplies in the near future (Allison et al., 2020). The fight against the pandemic is still on and people have to take preventative measures amidst easing of lockdown restrictions.

2.2 Government Sponsored Manufacturing

The NHS team plays an important role in the fight against the virus and ensuring they are well protected is the priority of the government. Protection for workers means the NHS does not run short of medical supplies (Novak and Loy, 2020). The government of the United Kingdom recently announced that it has acquired over 10 production lines to supplement the manufacture of face masks. The government reported through the health ministry reported that the step to acquire the production lines is meant to shoot down any risk of scarcity. There are several British firms that have the ability and capability of helping new production lines to meet the demand. According to the government, the production lines are expected to produce millions of face coverings every week (Javid, Weekes and Matheson, 2020). A further 10 production lines were commissioned by the government, which is expected to roll out the second phase in late August. As such, the government of the UK plays an important role in sponsoring the manufacture of face masks for the population of the UK, especially to the NHS.

2.3 Other manufacturers

Besides the private sector and government sponsoring the manufacture of face masks in the UK, there are production sites and companies that operate overseas (Barr, 2020). Examples include Chinese and American companies that have helped in mass production of medical equipment and face masks to fight coronavirus. The demand for face coverings during the pandemic has gone high to an extent of the country needing extra external help to meet the ever rising need. Donations from private companies and other countries make an important contribution to the domestically produced face masks, which are essential in reducing the rising demand (Novak and Loy, 2020). Manufacturers receive a number of orders from both public and private sector buyers that need to be met. Companies from other regions in the world have contributed significantly to the manufacture of face masks used in the United Kingdom.

3.0 Supply of Face Masks in the UK

There are a number of different players that participate in the supply of face masks in the United Kingdom. For instance, the government plays an important role in ensuring some institutions and societies have acquired the items for protection (Barr, 2020). Provision of face masks cannot be entirely left to the hands of the private sector hence the need for government intervention. The private sector also plays an important role in ensuring that the items have reached people. Other players who have significantly contributed to the supply of masks include offline retail shops, NHS supplies and online e-commerce websites. It is vital to understand how each of them contributes to effective supplying of face masks within the United Kingdom (Sayburn, 2020). Failure to use the right distribution channels might disadvantage some parts of the country or sectors of the economy. other parties who participate in the supplying of masks include international bodies that give donations and help from other countries.

3.1 Retails shops

Retail shops in the United Kingdom sell the highest number of face masks to the general population at a considerable price. The shops are situated strategically in many places within the streets in towns and cities (Pantano et al., 2020). The fact that each individual is expected to war a face mask before the public is a chance for retail shops to sell more units. The government has imposed a fine of 100 Euros for any individual who does not wear a face mask in public. This means that everyone has to wear a face mask amidst the re-opening of various cities from lockdown. The legislation has led to an increased demand for face masks, which has promoted the retailing of coverings (Sayburn, 2020). Retail shops contribute to a considerable share of the items used in the country. Outlets include physical super market stores, kiosks and pharmacists.

3.2 E-commerce Websites

It is important to note that technology as taken a deep effect in the social and economic ways of life for many people in the world. E-commerce websites provide an opportunity for people in the United Kingdom to order and pay for face masks online (Pantano et al., 2020). The increased use of technology in business has promoted online shopping, which has increased supply of face masks through online retail stores. Sales from e-commerce sites in the country have flourished in the country in the last few weeks due o the issue of increased travel restrictions. Online retailing of face masks allows one to convenient research on the item and ascertains whether it is the right to use as a protective strategy. Also, the fact that one conveniently orders for a face covering from a remote place makes many purchase online (Walker. and Sulyok, 2020). Online retail stores have contributed to a significant percentage of face masks won in the United Kingdom

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3.3 NHS Supplies

The NHS is on the frontline to fight against coronavirus on a daily basis and its contribution should not be overlooked. The NHS is responsible for ensuring that face masks that are sold meet the standards set (Gordon and Thompson, 2020). Equally, the NHS is responsible for ensuring that the production and supply of face masks is enough to meet the demand. In most situations, it is the body responsible for ensuring that government institutions have received supplies to protect themselves from acquiring the virus. Failure of the NHS to supply enough masks will risk the general health of the UK population (Walker. and Sulyok, 2020). The country has been hit by the pandemic to a large extent and face masks will step up the fight against the pandemic. In essence, the NHS has supplied a larger percentage of the face masks used in the UK during the coronavirus pandemic, which makes them part of the supply chain.

4.0 Conclusion

In conclusion, COVID-19 pandemic has compelled most countries to impose a legislation that requires everyone to wear a face mask in public. The fact that one has to wear a mask has led to increased demand for the same in most economies, especially in the UK. There are different players in the market who contribute to the manufacture of face masks including private sector, government sponsored manufacturing and others such as foreign companies. Besides the production of the same masks, the supply chain in the country consists of efficient and able players. Supplies reach individuals through online retail stores, offline shops, and government through NHS programs. The pandemic has promoted business activities for firms that deal with medical equipment and manufacture of face masks on a global front.

5.0 References

Allison, A.L., Ambrose-Dempster, E., T Aparsi, D., Bawn, M., Casas Arredondo, M., Chau, C., Chandler, K., Dobrijevic, D., Hailes, H., Lettieri, P. and Liu, C., 2020. The environmental dangers of employing single-use face masks as part of a COVID-19 exit strategy.

Barr, G.D., 2020. The Covid-19 Crisis and the need for suitable face masks for the general population. Chinese J Med Res3, pp.28-31.

Cheng, K.K., Lam, T.H. and Leung, C.C., 2020. Wearing face masks in the community during the COVID-19 pandemic: altruism and solidarity. The Lancet.

Gordon, C. and Thompson, A., 2020. Use of personal protective equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic. British Journal of Nursing29(13), pp.748-752.

Javid, B., Weekes, M.P. and Matheson, N.J., 2020. Covid-19: should the public wear face masks?.

Novak, J.I. and Loy, J., 2020. A quantitative analysis of 3D printed face shields and masks during COVID-19. Emerald Open Research2.

Pantano, E., Pizzi, G., Scarpi, D. and Dennis, C., 2020. Competing during a pandemic? Retailers’ ups and downs during the COVID-19 outbreak. Journal of Business Research.

Sayburn, A., 2020. Are UK doctors getting sufficient protective equipment against covid-19?. BMJ369.

Walker, M.D. and Sulyok, M., 2020. Online behavioural patterns for Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the United Kingdom. Epidemiology & Infection, pp.1-14.

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