In the News

Manufacturing consortia respond to ventilator shortages

Geoff Riley

20th March 2020

My article of the day on the economic crisis is about the drive to bring manufacturers together to ramp up the supply of much-needed ventilators for use by the NHS as the volume of critical cases starts to surge.

It is a really good example of the factors that affect elasticity of supply. The Government will buy as many ventilators as can be made, so there is no demand-side constraint. But as of only a few months ago, the UK had only one small-scale supplier (Penlon) which has a productive capacity of less than a thousand each year.

Indeed the UK has high import dependency for this specialist machinery unless other manufacturers can switch production.

The consortia mentioned in this FT article is an inspiring example of collaboration between businesses, the challenge of project management under stress and also the potential that additive (or 3D) manufacturing has to change production processes and shorten lead times.

"The consortia — made up of aerospace companies led by Meggitt and two from the automotive sector steered respectively by Nissan and McLaren — are aiming to develop a basic ventilator prototype by next week.”

Geoff Riley

Geoff Riley FRSA has been teaching Economics for over thirty years. He has over twenty years experience as Head of Economics at leading schools. He writes extensively and is a contributor and presenter on CPD conferences in the UK and overseas.

© 2002-2024 Tutor2u Limited. Company Reg no: 04489574. VAT reg no 816865400.