When 3M Aberdeen, South Dakota, got the call to ramp-up production of N95 respirators in January 2020 to help respond to the pandemic, the scale of the work ahead was massive.
But by adding hundreds of people and expanding the plant and production lines, Aberdeen helped bring monthly production of N95 respirators in the U.S. to 95 million per month.
Twenty months after the ramp-up began, the plant has reached another major milestone. Plant workers just produced their 1 billionth respirator since the beginning of the pandemic – a feat that would have otherwise taken about four years. They hit that milestone with help from 3Mers in sourcing, supply chain, value stream and engineering across the Personal Safety Division (PSD) and Enterprise Operations, as well as volunteers from across the rest of 3M.
“I’m just really, really proud of our team here and how they’ve been able to react and step up to the plate,” said Andy Rehder, plant director. “I’m grateful for the sacrifices people made working 24/7 to help get frontline workers the PPE they use while helping to care for others.”
Now that the plant has helped meet the need of health care workers responding to the pandemic, 3M is once again helping to support consumer and industrial needs, too. “Our 3M Aberdeen plant employees did an amazing job over the last 20 months ramping up and producing essential N95 respirators for health care and other frontline workers,” said Mike Vale, group president of 3M’s Safety and Industrial Business. “Their tireless efforts mean that respirators are now increasingly available for consumer and industrial customers. 3M Aberdeen has been critical to our ongoing response to the pandemic, and we will continue to give them our full support.”
Editor: I recently lamented the decline of “we’re all in this together”. Well, here is a prime example of what can be achieve when we ARE “in it together”. Congratulations to the 3M organisation and its people. What an inspiration.