Shirish Pareek
Looking to American Manufacturing Entrepreneurs to Save Lives and Jobs

Looking to American Manufacturing Entrepreneurs to Save Lives and Jobs

April 23, 2020
The Manufacturing Coalition says they can create a domestic supply chain to secure products essential to U.S. security, including those to combat COVID.

When Shirish Pareek learned that there was a shortage of PPE products to supply the medical community with what is needed to combat COVID, he did what he has always done; found a solution.

Pareek created the Manufacturing Coalition, a group of American business leaders drawn from Young Presidents' Organization (YPO). Why this group? Well YPO has as its members 28,000 CEOs, in 130 countries, who achieved success at an early age and joined together with the goal of improving leadership. Currently, they lead companies and organizations that contribute $9 trillion in annual revenue. 

These were the minds that Pareek wanted to tap to manufacture and distribute the necessary medical supplies. The coalition is comprised of 200 American YPO leaders, located in 30 states, that pivoted production lines to create products such as N95 masks, disposable gloves, sanitizing gels and liquids, ventilators and ventilator housings, COVID-19 testing kits, aluminum components for blood analysis tools, and more.

 “Our first feeling was as a group of business leaders in our communities, what can, and should, we do,” explains Pareek. “Within a brief period of time we changed from what should we do to this is what we will do -- lead.”

 And leading is an area of expertise of this group of YPO manufacturers. “We are American entrepreneurs and manufacturers and we have the capabilities and want to help. We want to save lives - we’ve seen the struggles to get PPE.”

 About 30% of the companies in the coalition were already part of the medical supply chain and more than two-thirds of all coalition members were deemed essential and had stayed open.  “We want to meet today’s demand for medical supplies and as entrepreneurs, we know how to pivot.”

And while supplying the needs of the medical community, these efforts will also help the U.S. workforce. “We are also leaders of our own businesses and want to make sure our own employees maintain their jobs,” said Pareek.

Saving jobs in an economy that has dropped to employment levels that this country hasn’t seen since the Depression, cannot be understated. To provide employment there must be a long-term solution to ensure the U.S. has a fully functioning supply chain, says Pareek.

“The immediate need is to solve the current the supply chain issues, however, equally important is solving the medium to long term needs,” says Pareek. “We have a responsibility to create American independence for the longer term. There has been a wake-up call around this health care crisis and the need to secure medical supplies. I’ve already heard from people, telling me that anything they need today will have to come from overseas. Besides China, other countries also want to keep the product for themselves.”

While every country is competing for supplies during this pandemic, it exposed a vulnerability in the U.S. supply chain. “What about the next crisis?’ asks Pareek. “Will we have the supplies to combat that? We need to fix the broken American supply chain by producing these products in the U.S.”

And Pareek has ideas on how to accomplish this. He points to the strength of U.S. manufacturing. “I believe in the ingenuity of American workers,” Pareek says. “What is needed is a clear demand signal – if the government is ready to send it - entrepreneurs will run with it - for every product from gloves to masks. We are still a global economy and will continue to be, but we want to make sure we are strategic. We need to analyze the entire supply chain and be prepared. “

One way to do this is to “repair our own supply chain. While some materials may need to come from other countries we must have a diversified supply chain.”

Manufacturing domestically is important for a stable society, Pareek says. “If we don’t make our lithium-ion batteries and our LCD screens domestically, how will we communicate during a future crisis? We need to ensure we have the necessary supplies as a matter of national security.”

With a clear demand to produce domestically, investment can follow. " As entrepreneurs and manufacturers if we get the demand signal then that provides the catalyst needed to make the necessary investment in people, plant and equipment to start to supply products in the U.S.”

Adapting to domestic needs doesn't have to take a long time, explains Pareek.  “The majority of our members who aren’t already producing in the medical, PPE, are able to pivot in less than a week. We need to re-evaluate our value chain and re-evaluate our policies, so we don’t find ourselves in this situation again.”

Pareek points to his group’s capabilities. “We built our business in this country. During a crisis, leaders lead and that is what the YPO entrepreneurs are looking to do. We are asking to get back to work so we can save lives and can keep our own employees employed. We need a clean and simple supply chain, located right here in the U.S.”

This domestic production will make America strong, insists Pareek. And with the heart and soul of an entrepreneur, he is stepping up. “I’d love to be part of figuring out a plan, based on examining our supply chain, and putting together a strategy on what is needed to make this happen.