New challenges form new unions: How our staff has adapted to the increasing demand of Sterillium® and new partners have joined us in the fight against the coronavirus.
The novel coronavirus certainly comes with a number of challenges for companies, consumers, and the global community. At HARTMANN, as manufacturers of medical and hygiene products like Sterillium®, we have felt the urgency of these challenges intensely. For some retailers, an increase in demand not only creates tense working environments in the production department, but also the temptation to take advantage of a vulnerable market.
"We believe that we have an increased ethical responsibility right now," explains Dr Gian Carlo Sciuchetti, former Managing Director of BODE Chemie GmbH and Business Division Head Disinfection at HARTMANN. "That's why we clearly dissociate ourselves from overpricing in any form and do not contribute to it."
Although the company has no immediate influence on individual retailers and their pricing policies, we continuously monitor the market and, where feasible, consider legal action. Our commitment: price increases will be the direct result of an increase of production and material costs, but never the result of corporate greed.
Not only can such behavior tarnish a corporate reputation irreparably, it is also despicable in its potential to leave individual groups without the means to protect themselves from contracting SARS-CoV-2.
Production in full swing
Meeting the increased demand for our products has meant working on an upward incline for our production teams.
We are now producing 24/7 and have added a third shift to accommodate the (wo-)manpower necessary to maintain a steady supply of crucial medical and hygiene products.
Every single one of our employees is dedicated to our common goal: getting our products to the people and institutions where they are most urgently needed, for example hospitals and nursing homes for the elderly.
A silver lining amid these rapidly changing and challenging circumstances has been realizing the possibilities of fruitful collaboration and growing strong partnerships.
As a further result of the dramatically increased demand for Sterillium®, KNEIPP, a subsidiary of the HARTMANN GROUP, has opened its doors to allow BODE production of the disinfectant at the facilities in Ochsenfurt/Würzburg, Germany. This additional production capacity will be further expanded over the coming weeks. By joining forces in this common effort, we are empowered in our mission to ensure a worldwide supply of our products to caretakers.
Getting ahead of the virus
The crisis of production is equal only in its urgency to the ongoing sprint to get ahead of the virus by conducting research that will help us understand its character and potential threat.
"We are still in a learning process regarding SARS-CoV-2," says Dr Erika Mönch, Head of Microbiology at BODE Chemie, HARTMANN Business Division Disinfection. "Because it is a completely novel virus, the human immune system has yet been unable to develop antibodies that neutralise the pathogen – that's what makes the illness more severe."
Mönch believes that global outbreaks of other emerging diseases are highly probable in the future. Part of the reason is that the pressure of natural selection is increasing through factors including globalisation, the growing worldwide mobility of people and goods or climate change. "Evolution is ongoing, and the most successful organisms will prevail," concludes Mönch. However, with regard to Coronaviridae, severe infections or high mortality rates are not primary indicators of success. Rather, a successful virus is one that is able to maintain maximum transmission effectiveness. That's why it is so important to slow down the rate of new infections.
Slowing the rate of new infections is not only crucial from a scientific standpoint, it is crucial from a corporate standpoint, and ultimately from a social one. This is the solidarity that will keep the numbers down, production up, costs low, and hopes high — it is also the solidarity that is creating new collaborations across industries and fields of expertise. In times of isolation, we are happy to see this human solidarity thrive and will gladly all we can to contribute.