Coronavirus Supply Concerns: Navigating the High Demand for Disinfectants

One of the guiding theories in economics is the scarcity principle, which states that all goods are limited in supply, but unlimited in demand. This disequilibrium between supply and demand can lead to supply shortages in extreme circumstances, much like the current COVID-19 pandemic.

In particular, this global viral outbreak has led to serious supply chain concerns for disinfectant products as businesses across industries seek effective disinfection solutions in greater numbers. To make matters more complicated, certain industries, namely healthcare, naturally require a higher supply of disinfectants, personal protective equipment (PPE), and other health and safety products than other industries, tipping the scales further out of balance. As a result of this sudden spike in demand, suppliers are having a hard time obtaining the necessary raw materials (such as ethanol, benzyl chloride, and isopropyl alcohol) to create enough of their cleaning and disinfectant products.

What does all of this mean for your business and facilities? While some market forces may be out of your control, there are ways to effectively navigate these supply chain concerns, and good news appears to be on the horizon. Here are some things to think about.

Analyzing Your Current Work Situation

Demand for disinfectants may be at an all-time high across the board, but consider whether or not you need to greatly increase your stock of such products at the moment. Ask yourself: what is the state of my current operations? If your business has been able to partially or fully operate via remote work/telecommunication, your office space is most likely empty and might remain so for a little while longer. While this communal space should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected prior to everyone’s return, disinfectants and cleaning products might be more readily available when that time comes. In other words, lacking disinfectants right now may not affect your business as much as it affects others.

On that note, if your business has remained open in some capacity during this pandemic and/or allows for public entry, your facility will require an ample amount of disinfecting, in which case supply chain concerns are more of an issue. Even if this is the case, though, not all hope is lost.

Partnering with Professional Disinfecting Services

One way to ensure that your facility remains properly sanitized is to hire routine or in-house disinfection services. A professional disinfection company is likely to have a higher supply of these crucial products on hand. Not only that, but professional cleaners will also have methods and tools for using disinfectants more efficiently, reducing waste and maximizing effectiveness. That said, not all businesses can afford to hire regular disinfecting cleaning services, especially during this economic downturn. And even some disinfection services are bound to run into supply chain issues, too. Still, if this option is within your business’ means, it can be a worthwhile investment and give you, your employees, and your customers peace of mind.

The Budd Group works closely with several manufacturers and distributors of janitorial and safety supplies. While demand for these products has increased by a factor of 10 in some cases since the start of this pandemic, we will do everything in our power to ensure our clients can reopen safely and successfully. Fortunately, these demand spikes appear to be leveling off in recent weeks. Additionally, many manufacturers who do not normally produce hand sanitizer have begun to do so, and we have taken advantage of this turn of events for our customers’ needs. We have also managed to obtain key PPE such as masks, gloves, and face shields from various sources so we remain prepared through the fall.

Recent EPA Actions May Help

On April 14th, 2020, the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took decisive action to increase the rate of supply of disinfectant products designed to combat COVID-19 in particular. They did so by “temporarily allowing registrants to notify EPA of certain formulation and manufacturing facility changes and immediately release the product for sale without waiting for EPA approval.” Simply put, this measure allows manufacturers to more quickly produce important disinfectants for disinfection companies and other industries to use. While the EPA’s actions won’t totally resolve supply chain problems, it will help more businesses acquire the products they need to keep their facilities and people safe and healthy during this unprecedented time.

Right now, businesses everywhere feel like they have little to no control over their current affairs, including keeping their facilities properly disinfected. But by analyzing and optimizing your operations, hiring disinfection experts, and staying up to date on the latest news regarding the supply of disinfectants, you can mitigate these supply chain concerns and weather the storm for the time being.

Here at The Budd Group, we know how difficult these times have been for everyone, and we’re here to help businesses maintain the health and safety of their people in every way possible. The good news is that necessary health and safety supplies are slowly becoming more available to us and our clients, though we expect lead times of 3 to 4 weeks to be a normal thing into the summer.

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