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Stocking Up: Medical Supply Availability

Stocking Up: Medical Supply Availability

We've written many articles for our Mountainside Medical Equipment blog on everything from nutrition to awareness events to the specifics of the products we sell, but we've never really given you a look into the details of running a medical supply company. Ours is a business that requires building relationships with many different manufacturers and distributors, and in our 18 years of business it's made us aware how complicated and vulnerable the medical supply chain is. It's a lesson that the coronavirus pandemic is teaching us all right now.


Medical Supply Warehouse


COVID-19, the strain of coronavirus currently spreading around the world, has proven a major challenge to manufacturing and shipping across every industry. It's estimated that the supply chains for 75% of American companies have been disrupted by the virus. Even manufacturing located in the United States may have trouble sourcing parts or ingredients from outside the country, and delays on goods are expected to be common.

Much of our manufacturing, even for medical supplies, occurs overseas or involves materials sourced from other nations. This creates an intricate network of shipping that becomes a logistical nightmare when an event breaks a single link in this chain. When Hurricane Maria happened in 2017, Puerto Rican medical manufacturing was delayed for months, causing shortages in vital supplies like bacteriostatic water that our company felt acutely. Around 72% of all manufacturers that supply U.S. pharmaceutical companies are located outside the United States, including 13% in China. Chinese manufacturing, responsible for many goods in America, has unsurprisingly been hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak:

  • Chinese manufacturers report operating at 50% capacity with 56% regular staff.
  • 62 percent of businesses surveyed by the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) expect delays receiving goods from China.
  • 53 percent of these businesses reported difficulty getting supply chain information from China.
  • 48 percent of these businesses have had delays moving goods within China.
  • 46 percent of these businesses have had delays loading goods at Chinese ports.


What Does This Mean for Your Medical Supplies?

While the disease appears to have originated in China, manufacturing and distribution have been affected everywhere, and so has consumer behavior. You've seen this if you've attempted to buy face masks or hand sanitizer recently, and even basic goods like food and toilet paper. People are stocking up, and until the outbreak is under control, this is going to continue.

We're not trying to advocate panic, nor the extreme levels of hoarding some have committed to, but many items are scarce right now and manufacturing hasn't returned to operating at a pace that can meet demand. If you need medical supplies in the near future, and what you're looking for is still available, then the time to purchase is now. Mountainside Medical Equipment still has many items available for purchase in many different categories. If you're concerned about the future availability of anything currently in stock, place that order, and if you order regularly, consider buying more of the items you usually purchase.

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