News April 17, 2020

    Facing the unknown: the agility of businesses in Paris Region

    Since the breakout of COVID-19, companies across the globe have ramped up efforts to combat the pandemic and meet an unprecedented surge in the demand for hand sanitisers and personal protective equipment (PPE) materials. In Paris Region, the demand for hydroalcoholic gel sky-rocketed in a few days, leading companies to find innovative business solutions to respond to market changes.

    A concerted effort to meet a surge in demand of hydroalcoholic gel

    In Paris Region, there was a concerted effort on behalf of the Chemical, Fashion, Cosmetics, Food and Spirits industries to prevent a hand sanitiser shortage. Some scaled-up their production efforts, while others shifted their entire production lines thereby preventing a shortage of sanitiser. Whether very large corporations (LVMH, Dior, Guerlain, Hermès, L’Oréal, Sisley, Clarins, Yves-Rocher, Arkema, Seqens), mid-cap companies (Septodont) or SMEs (Inventec, Afuludine) – they all demonstrated the same endeavour to be on the frontlines of this fight. In an exceptionally short period of time, the production of hydroalcoholic gel in France increased from 50,000 litres per day to over 500,000 litres today.

    The decisive role of start-ups

    Getting manufacturers directly in touch with wholesalers was one of the many challenges of the sanitary crisis and met with the timely creation of a B2B platform, named “StopCovid19.fr”, by Mirakl a Paris based start-up specializing in eCommerce and Marketplace solutions. Operated free of charge and supported by the Ministry of Economics and Finance, the platform is a marketplace for healthcare professionals to put in their demands for gel, masks, gowns, and other essential products and receive direct supplies from manufacturers, wholesalers, subcontractors, and retailers. The great thing about the platform is that supply chains have been increasingly shortened and demands met very quickly. Since its opening, the platform has already enabled the delivery of more than 307,000 litres of hydroalcoholic gel and solutions, 1.3 million surgical masks, FFP2 or equivalent, and 130,000 alternative masks for professional use. Today, the platform hosts 70 registered sellers (all products combined) and 1,700 customers.

    An agile and unified region

    What does that tell us about Paris Region’s industrial base? Two words: AGILITY and SOLIDARITY. We saw these companies adapt to the unknown, we saw Chemical Companies triple their production of hydroalcoholic gel. We saw others donate masks and protection clothes to hospitals and health centres as well as to the Fire Brigade, Military Police, or neighbouring municipalities. We saw the automotive industry ramp up its production of ventilators.

    All in all, the COVID-19 crisis had led to an unparalleled solidarity amongst the people and the industry. It has also demonstrated that the industrial sector remains the keystone of an economy, and beyond that, a formidable source of technological solutions and innovations.