If you are anything like us, you are probably regarding this story with a strong level of suspicion. How can an American manufacturer of surgical masks fail to work around the clock? You have one job to do! The number one mask maker in the country should be working tirelessly to make sure that our people are given the protection that they need.
The answer is actually a simple one. The owner of the mask-making company in question has been burned in the past and he is looking to avoid similar issues in the future. Prestige Ameritech is owned by Mike Bowen. The company has been in business for the past 15 years and they are doing their best to keep up with the demand that has been created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bowen is one of many Americans who finds themselves concerned about our nation’s excessive reliance on Chinese supply chains. Personal protection equipment and medical equipment is typically sourced from the Chinese. Obviously, this arrangement is not as tenable as it once was. Relying on the Chinese right now is a recipe for disaster.
They have already been sending faulty medical equipment to a variety of countries. The coronavirus tests that were sent to other countries do not actually work and in some cases, some of the tests were found to be infected! Bowen does not want his company to spend nights and weekends remedying these issues. His workers will be only be working their normal daytime shifts.
The pandemic has provided Americans with a number of lessons about what is truly important. We are finally learning more about the true dangers of our Chinese reliance. The United States should not be relying on the Chinese for prescription medications and medical supplies. Sadly, we had to experience a global pandemic for this lesson to be driven home.
American consumers are caught between a rock and a hard place. Do they support their local business and pay a higher price or do they continue to enjoy the low prices that the Chinese have to offer? The surgical masks that are provided by Bowen’s company cost 10 cents apiece, while the masks that are manufactured by the Chinese cost 2 cents each.
China is now cutting down on their sales to foreign countries, as they look to protect their own citizens. The medical community has been left scrambling in the meantime. According to Bowen, this is a perfect storm. The flu season has already been bad enough and now we are in the midst of a global pandemic. Panic buyers are affecting supplies and so are the Chinese.
This leaves numerous medical facilities with nowhere else to turn. Department of Health and Human Services estimates peg the number of surgical masks that are manufactured overseas at 95 percent. The demand that has been created is without precedent. Prestige Ameritech has hired a wide range of new employees in response and they are also working tirelessly to get idle machines back online.
Production has increased to 1 million masks per day. Bowen has also been forced to make some more difficult decisions. He is only selling the masks that are being made at the moment to medical facilities. The general public is not being provided with access. Medical centers that are prepared to sign five year contracts with Prestige Ameritech are given priority as well.
Bowen does not want to make the switch to 24/7 production because he was burned by this strategy during the H1N1 epidemic. That’s why he is changing his tactics this time. He does not want his employees or business to go through the same issues. After the H1N1 epidemic, he was left holding the bag when he had to lay off all of the new employees and provide them with unemployment checks.
The hospitals that had been relying on Prestige Ameritech went right back to their old Chinese suppliers and that’s why Bowen is asking for lengthier contracts this time around. America should never remain beholden to communist countries for the necessary medical assistance. This is something that Bowen has been sounding alarm bells over for some time now.
His company would be able to do more but he is unable to ramp up production without the necessary commitment from American medical facilities. Without a government contract, the company is forced to struggle during the slower times. No order requests have been placed from the federal government at the present time. There is still a massive need for the products that are being manufactured by Prestige Ameritech in the meantime.