Medline plans to manufacture face masks in North America for the first time at its modified plant in Lithia Springs, Georgia.
The Lithia Springs location opened in 2011 and expanded in 2018. Currently, it produces incontinence products, including adult briefs, baby diapers, underpads and other products used in personal care and will continue to do so after the upcoming expansion. The plant currently employs 420 team members and will add 40 more employees to work on the new face mask lines.
The company anticipates production on level-1 ear loop procedure masks will begin in January, with a second production line launching later in 2021. When the two lines are fully operational, Medline estimates it will produce 36 million face masks per month.
The latest expansion in Georgia was made possible in part by a $6 million contract awarded to Medline by the U.S. Department of Defense to increase domestic production capability for face masks.
"Throughout the pandemic, Medline has been laser-focused on implementing new ideas to combat the national shortage of medical supplies. In particular, our customers have a critical need for readily available face masks. This is a significant capital investment in one of our largest manufacturing facilities that will increase the number of face masks Medline can offer to healthcare facilities and diversifies our PPE supply chain," said Charlie Mills, Medline CEO.
"Investing in customer needs is at the heart of our company's philosophy. Our manufacturing capabilities are part of our DNA and go back to the origination of Medline as a company. Behind it all, of course, are our employees who have worked tirelessly to help healthcare work through this unusual year. We are gratified our planning allows us to add manufacturing capacity and help hospitals, nursing homes and physician offices even more quickly,” he added.
According to company officials, this is the second manufacturing expansion by Medline in the U.S. in 2020. In April, the company launched hand sanitizer production at its Hartland, Wisconsin, plant to help meet a nationwide shortage. Medline redeployed manufacturing capabilities in that facility to produce the 80 percent ethyl alcohol-based hand sanitizer and retrofitted one of its production rooms for the new product. The company also shifted manufacturing focus in its Meriden, Connecticut, plant to manufacture alcohol gel packets during the height of the shortages.
"In order to provide whole-person care to everyone who trusts us for their health care needs, it is crucial that our more than 80,000 team members have access to critical PPE at all times," says Marisa Farabaugh, Senior Vice President and Chief Supply Chain Officer, AdventHealth. "This expansion marks an important step in domestic manufacturing within the healthcare supply chain to ensure future resiliency and improves our ability to keep our providers, team members and patients safe."
Medline said its expansion in Lithia Springs enhances its already robust North American manufacturing footprint. The company has 20-plus manufacturing facilities currently producing lotions, infection prevention products, patient plastics, textiles, raw materials and incontinence products.