Whirlpool is providing much-needed medical supplies to Spectrum Health Lakeland, a not-for-profit, community-owned health system serving the manufacturer’s headquarters region of southwest Michigan.
According to a report in the local Herald-Palladium, the vendor’s procurement division has rounded up more than 100,000 medical gloves, 252 24-ounce containers of hand soap and 192 6-ounce containers of hand sanitizer, with face masks and additional gloves expected this week.
Kyle Murawski, Whirlpool’s Manager for Indirect Procurement, said his team worked with the company’s international procurement operation to extend its reach globally.
“We supported China from day one and they have repaid the favor,” he said.
CEO Marc Bitzer said Whirlpool has been contending with COVID-19 since the beginning, as it operates a factory about 200 miles from Wuhan, China, considered ground zero for coronavirus, and maintains a European headquarters in Italy.
“It made us very mindful about what was coming,” he told the newspaper. “So we were maybe a little better prepared than most companies,” and built a strategic reserve of masks for factory workers in critical front-line jobs.
That preparation has allowed Whirlpool to continue operating all of its U.S.-based manufacturing plants and distribution centers, as U.S. Sales Vice President David Chichocki noted in an open letter to trade partners.