A man and a dog standing together. Discover how agile businesses are adapting to supply gaps during the coronavirus downturn.

How agile businesses are meeting the demands of sudden, unexpected supply gaps

“Necessity is the root of all invention”, begins a Facebook announcement by local photographic print business, Brilliant Prints. It continues, “With photo shoots around the country on hold, we have been forced to try to come up with ideas to keep us from standing down our loyal staff. This morning, we received a call from a medical practice asking if we could make a protective screen for their reception staff. Given that we cut acrylic for photo prints every day, we quickly developed a prototype that the people who have seen it love.”

Brilliant Prints then asked their followers to spread the word to all frontline workers including dentists, medical staff, vets, physiotherapists and chiropractors about their new product resulting from the pivot. Their product was similar to those sold at Officeworks however allowed for customisation and had Australia-wide shipping within 24-48 hours, while offering free delivery in Brisbane.

Evolving Brands During the Coronavirus Downturn

Image sourced from Brilliant Prints. 

That was an ingenious idea, and is one example out of thousands where Aussie businesses found ways to diversify and fill a growing need. While the coronavirus crisis has sent shockwaves through industries Australia-wide, many chose to rise to the challenge by meeting a sudden change in demand for certain supplies. Everyone knows the Quilton factories have been working around the clock – literally operating 24/7 – to meet our toilet paper hoarding needs. What’s even more impressive, there are businesses that have identified a new gap in the market and acted fast to fill it.

Did you know that alcohol distilleries all over Australia are now manufacturing and selling hand sanitiser? Yes, now you can enjoy your isolation, sipping on some Archie Rose Gin with hands that are fragrantly sterile with the botanicals usually reserved for their spirits. If you want their grapefruit, cassia, cardamom and thyme sanitiser, you may have to join an enthusiastic waiting list, or simply try Brisbane Distillery, Cape Byron Distillery, Tambourine Mountain Distillery, Wise Wine or one of the dozens of others, making their own bottles of the clean stuff.

Evolving Brands During the Coronavirus Downturn

Image source via Archie Rose

While dwindling medical supplies sent feelings of dread through much of our community, several people and businesses have come to the rescue. Erebus Motorsport used its Supercars workshop and team in Melbourne to develop full face masks and a protective perspex box to shield health care workers from infected patients. The Erebus Dandenong workshop then went into full swing, manufacturing the equipment for distribution. The design for the ventilation masks was adapted from a 3D printed snorkelling mask, making them quick and easy to mass produce.

Another Australian business that have been fast to meet demands is South Australian packaging company Detmold Group. They are employing around 160 new staff to produce surgical masks and respirators to help stop the spread of COVID-19. The South Australian and Federal Governments have placed an order for 145 million masks between them, which are being manufactured at Detmold’s plant in Brompton, Adelaide.

Evolving Brands During the Coronavirus Downturn

Image source via Detmold Group

Medical professionals and frontline workers all around the nation have been most concerned about their own ‘toilet roll’ challenge – that is being faced with empty shelves when trying to access essential PPE for safely treating coronavirus patients. Supply challenges aren’t holding these resourceful Australians back. ABC News reports, “A large centralised group involving Victorian university staff, clinicians and manufacturers has been working tirelessly to develop suitable products and to co-ordinate the supply and demand of these essential items, and it has begun to network with other similar groups across Australia and internationally.”

Evolving Brands During the Coronavirus Downturn

Image source via ABC News

The group has reached out to local engineers and manufacturers to produce necessities including face shields, PPE masks, hooded oxygen respirators, ventilators and ventilator parts. The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has even come to the party by creating a rapid approval process for COVID-related equipment.

These are just some of the many ways, inventive businesses have found to grow with the changing marketplace. Has your business or one you know of found a clever way to evolve during this time? We’d love to hear about it! Share your story with us on LinkedIn or Instagram.

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