The Hershey Company has joined the list of consumer goods companies that are prioritizing the manufacture of personal protective equipment (PPE) to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.
However, while several other companies are retooling their existing operations in order to make PPE, Hershey has committed to spending $1 million to acquire a new manufacturing line that’s dedicated to the production of facemasks.
The confectionary company, which will also install and staff the line, will team with both General Motors and JR Automation to expedite the process.
The line is expected to become operational near the end of May and will be capable of producing up to 45,000 masks per day.
Michele Buck, Hershey president and CEO, cited the company’s history of manufacturing to support U.S. communities.
“Supporting our communities in difficult times is part of our legacy, and an important value that our current employees share. From the building projects that created local jobs during the Great Depression, to producing military rations during World War II, we take great pride in making a difference where we can,” she noted.
On a local level, Hershey is also donating N95 masks and surgical gloves to Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, and a 22,000-square-foot distribution center on the Hershey Company campus has been dedicated to helping the flow of supplies to the Penn State Health provider network.
Hershey, which counts over 80 brands under its umbrella and 16,000 global employees, is No. 70 on the CGT Top 100 Consumer Goods Companies of 2019 ranking. In reporting its first-quarter earnings last week, the company said net sales increased 1% in the quarter vs. the prior-year period — in line with expectations with a with a modest impact from COVID-19.
Even before COVID-19 instigated an industrywide game of strategy whack-a-mole, the timing, severity and location of seasonal illness has always varied wildly from year to year. Learn how Reckitt is keeping products on shelves through new forecasting strategies.