Exclusive by Peter Roberts
Australia’s furnishing and furniture manufacturers have been the latest to be called up by governments in the fight to contain the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus.
The sector has been asked to provide details of how it can furnish a series of field hospitals to be set up around the country by state governments to handle an expected surge in patient numbers.
Similar to the massive hospitals set up overseas in stadiums and convention centres, the Australian field hospitals need everything from beds to bedpans – and lots of them right away.
The Australasian Furnishing Association appealed to its members nationwide last week and has been overwhelmed by the positive response, according to AFA CEO, Patrizia Torelli (pictured below).
Torelli told @AuManufacturing: “We have been overwhelmed with industry’s positive responses to our ‘call to action’.
“As of this morning AFA members have reported an amazing capacity to ramp up manufacturing and distribution of vital services and equipment to support this important work in the national interest.”
The furnishing and furniture sector employs 250,000 and supplies retailers with much of their sales, competing against imports.
Companies that have responded so far to the AFA call employ 5,000 people and include Comfort Sleep Bedding, UCI Projects and Protect-a-Bed.
Companies have begun securing the raw materials such as stainless steel, aluminium, timber, foams, textiles and glazing and reviewing the capacity of manufacturing processes such as welding, powder coating, machining and assembly.
Torelli said “A number of companies already supplying the health and aged care sectors and able to ramp up production immediately.
“Products range from medical grade mattresses to all other types of furniture required for fit out of hospitals and hotels.
“A number of companies have the capacity to convert their production to manufacture PPE products or other products upon request.
“In these difficult times, we recognise the flexibility and agility of Australian businesses to answer the call of duty and do what they can to help.”
Companies can register their capabilities by emailing the AFA on [email protected].
Companies should provide very brief details of the following:
# Company name, contact details and national distribution capabilities.
# The RELEVANT products that can currently be supplied and those that could be supplied if contracted to do so.
# Manufacturing capabilities (current and possible turn-key restart).
# Outline of company/individual experience (if any) producing medical grade materials/products.
# List of your suppliers for the purpose of producing the products that will be required.
Picture: Comfort Sleep Bedding/Patrizia Torelli
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