Phoenix Quality Mfg, LLC (“PQM”) is a new personal protective equipment (“PPE”) manufacturing business located in Jackson, Ohio.
Our mission is simple: PQM strives to be an American leader in high quality manufacturing through equitable working environments, domestic job creation, and attainable product pricing.
Our vision is clear: To become a leading manufacturer and provider of safe and effective, American made, and reasonably priced PPE.
The story of how PQM decided to enter the marketplace – and the choice of the Midwest as base of operations – is as unique as the management team’s experience. PQM’s initial 25,000 square foot manufacturing facility is currently under construction in south central Ohio. When production begins in October 2020, PQM will have a manufacturing capacity of 5.5 million N95 respirator masks per month.
This is the coming together of logistics industry and business leaders with manufacturing experts and supply chain specialists in response to the need to reduce inefficiencies in the current national PPE supply chain.
In March 2020, with the Pandemic in full force and the country shut down, panic buying began. Toilet paper, bottled water, and canned goods were flying off store shelves, leaving standing inventories bare. In the U.S. health care industry, two critical things quickly became evident – that the domestic industry did not have the ability to meet the unprecedented demand for PPE, and that the U.S. lacked the means and ability to manufacture what was needed, as most PPE manufacturing had been shipped overseas. This created gridlock between the private health care institutions and the federal government, which attempted to control the national supply chain and make supply allocations using guidelines not designed for use in a pandemic. At the same time, to meet the ever-increasing demand, Chinese manufacturers flooded the market with substandard product – driving up the cost of raw materials and immediately creating an unsustainable supply and demand pricing scale.
In the midst of this increasing panic, members of the PQM executive team – who have decades of established relationships around the globe with manufacturing companies – directed the company to pivot to see how it could help bridge the gap between PPE manufacturers and those looking for supply as inventories began to disappear.
As the crisis deepened, the need for PPE continued to increase and the supply chain, which had proven grossly incapable of fulfilling even a fraction of the necessary PPE, was stretched thinner, creating national security issues and real-world economic pain. Governments at the local, regional, and national levels, health care institutions, and businesses of all types and sizes began competing for dwindling PPE supply. Prices skyrocketed, and many institutions were unable and/or unwilling to meet foreign manufacturer pricing and payment terms to secure necessary supply. Buyers were being asked to pay upfront for PPE, sometimes sight unseen, or given promised delivery dates for orders that were missed by weeks, or even months. Desperate buyers were often forced to buy substandard products or grossly overpay for what they could find to meet the need. And unproven methods were utilized to try and decontaminate single-use masks to allow them to be used for days or even weeks, making it hazardous for both care givers and their patients.
As the market spun further out of control, PQM experienced firsthand the price manipulation models implemented by overseas manufacturers and broker chains. While helping clients purchase masks, gowns, gloves, and other critical PPE, the company identified an incredible number of inefficiencies in the supply chain, not to mention the shifting of purchasing dynamics which sent the price of products and payment terms spiraling out of control. The PPE market became a free for all. Counterproductive competition artificially inflated prices and forced buyers, who desperately needed product, into high risk choices of paying upfront while also reducing the security and assurance of those purchases. N95 respirator masks, which sold in late 2019 for under a dollar apiece, were being sold for four, five, or even more times that price, and sellers – or their middle men – were requiring orders of a million masks, or even more.
While trying to connect buyers and sellers in a market often referred to in the media as resembling “the Wild West,” PQM realized that, without control of the supply chain, it could not get the deals its’ buyers deserved, nor guarantee the quality or timely delivery of products. With that in mind, an idea was floated.
PQM leadership had enough collective experience in founding, developing, and managing businesses – including manufacturing facilities – to build our own American-based facility to help manage and rebuild the critical PPE supply chain. This became a passionate rallying cry among our partners, who firmly believed that not only was this a strong economic idea but also a moral imperative as good corporate citizens. PQM took a big step, and committed to exploring the opportunity in earnest, with the goal of resetting the competitive dynamics of the domestic PPE market and adding manufacturing back to the U.S. in an economical manner for both ourselves and those needing supply.
In May 2020, the value proposition became clearer, leading to structuring a business that would provide:
For the next month, the PQM management team worked tirelessly developing the idea for a PPE manufacturing facility in the U.S. Thousands of hours were spent by the team carefully crafting the necessary plans and lining up critical support. Financial models were developed. Hundreds of meetings were held with potential investors and strategic partners. Suppliers and vendors were sourced. Operations manuals were crafted. Partners across the U.S. were identified. The result is a dynamic plan to build and operate a new PPE manufacturing facility, with strict quality control measures, that will create value economically, politically, and socially in the community.
Ultimately, necessary decisions were made, and funding was secured. The key was finding the right partner with existing facilities and expertise. And thus, on June 6, 2020, PQM was born in conjunction with our chairman, Alan Stockmeister, and his family group out of Jackson, Ohio.
The initial manufacturing facility is currently being retrofitted for FDA approval. Equipment and raw materials are being sourced. Corporate planning, hiring, and presales have begun. PQM is now positioned to help solve these supply chain inefficiencies as it builds a company based on the core principals of family, honesty, transparency, and integrity.
Like any manufacturing or other business start-ups, there undoubtedly will be challenges. However, PQM has solid financing, top quality management, demonstrated need for its product, and a clear mission and vision. With that in mind, Phoenix Quality Manufacturing is prepared to meet the challenge of helping make the words “Made in Ohio” synonymous with the production of quality PPE, and empower the United States of America to take an essential step forward in building its domestic PPE production capabilities.
For more information about PQM, please visit phoenixqualitymanufacturing.com
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