Dräger: Masks And Respirators For Germany And The World
Due to the corona pandemic, large parts of the economy remain idle. This does not apply to those who provide protective equipment and medical technology. One example is Drägerwerke in Lübeck/Germany. For Stories of INTERSCHUTZ, we spoke to Melanie Kamann, Dräger's press spokeswoman, about the current situation.6 May 2020
Dräger stands at the center of efforts to combat the pandemic with the production of protective masks and equipment for intensive care ventilation. Can you express in figures how your business here has changed over the past weeks?
In contrast to many other companies whose business is suffering as a result of limited economic activity, we also have segments with extremely high demand for their products at present. However, we are also affected by the general risks.
Incoming orders increased extraordinarily in the first three months, rising by 116.7 percent after adjusting for currency effects. In medical technology, orders increased by 177.2 percent in exchange rate adjusted terms, driven by demand for ventilators, among other things. In the safety division, order intake increased by 31.6 percent net of currency effects, with a particularly strong increase in demand for light respiratory protection.
Where does this demand come from? From which regions and from which players?
We are seeing a strong increase in global demand, particularly for ventilators, an increased demand for ventilation accessories and light respiratory protection.
The increase in demand started at the beginning of the year in China and Asia and is now continuing in many other countries at the same time as infection rates are rising. While hospitals are usually the most frequent customers, in the current situation there is an increasing number of health authorities and government agencies.
To what extent did you increase your production now?
In order to meet the high demand for our products, we have already significantly expanded our production capacities in recent weeks. Demand for personal protective equipment has increased significantly worldwide, especially FFP masks, half masks, particle filters, protective goggles and protective suits. Our masks are produced in Sweden and South Africa. And we are working to full capacity.
You could not have been prepared for such a great demand. And you can hardly keep up with the current demand, can you?
Of course we have appropriate safety stocks to cushion short-term fluctuations. However, due to the rapidly increasing number of infections, the number of orders and enquiries is rising dramatically, so that our production capacities are also completely booked up. So we have to prioritise deliveries/orders accordingly and do so in line with our supply mandate and taking into account existing contracts. Despite our greatest efforts, it is not always possible to satisfy the exponentially increasing demand directly and immediately.
The current debate repeatedly focuses on the fact that bottlenecks in protective materials have arisen because production facilities are no longer located on site and supply chains are more difficult to control. What is the situation at Dräger? How much production is running in Germany and Europe?
Dräger has production sites in Germany, Chile, China, Great Britain, India, Sweden, South Africa, the Czech Republic and the USA. We produce ventilators in Germany and respirators in Sweden and South Africa.
What role did a possible pandemic event play for Dräger before Corona? Did you have emergency plans?
Our company has an up-to-date pandemic plan, which is regularly adjusted under the direction of our internal company medical service. All concepts for protecting our employees and maintaining our operational capability are also developed in cooperation with our internal health management, which has already received several awards. A large proportion of our employees are therefore working exactly where it is operationally necessary and medically justifiable - on site at the customer's premises, in presence in production, logistics and development areas, and also mobile from home.
Are there already considerations that Corona should also be taken up as a topic at INTERSCHUTZ 2021?
At INTERSCHUTZ 2021, we will of course be addressing current topics that are of concern to the market, such as health risks. In this hot topic, we will not only be addressing the cancer risk of emergency personnel, but will also be focusing on the topic of hygiene.
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