Update on orders for 3M Respirators - April 2020
First, if you have questions, PLEASE EMAIL: SUPPORT@EIO.COM. We are NOT answering questions posed in the comments of this or any other blog. We are answering ALL EMAILS to firstname.lastname@example.org within 24-48 hours, Mon - Fri.
Please read ALL of this update so that we may help fill your order for masks as quickly as possible and so that you can fully understand the situation and work with us during this very difficult time. We’re doing the best we can with our small staff as a small, family owned-business. We appreciate anyone who is willing to work with us during this time and appreciate your continued patience.
We understand that everyone is looking for a status update of their specific order, however, due to overwhelming customer demand we are only able to respond to requests by email at email@example.com and even then, this announcement here will likely apply to most orders simply because orders are all still outstanding for the same reason and at present we have not been given a solid timeline from the manufacturer on shipping. Basically, we are awaiting inventory from 3M to fill existing orders and we are shipping everything as we are able to with the small shipments we get from 3M. We have not yet received complete shipments of what we have ordered from 3M despite our best efforts to be proactive, and this is due to reasons outlined later in this update.
Towards the end of January we started seeing an increase in demand for 3M respirator masks, and personal protective equipment (PPE) and we were able to determine that it was due to, at the time, news reports of the coronavirus (COVID19) in Wuhan, China. Seeing this increase in demand, we anticipated that it might be a good idea to proactively place large orders with 3M to ensure that we would be able to fulfill orders and ensure that people could get access to PPE to protect themselves and their family. We wanted to ensure that this PPE would be accessible at normal prices as we anticipated there would be some who would want to take advantage of the situation and increase pricing. We’ve been a 3M distributor for a while, this is not something we just jumped into to try to capitalize on the corona virus panic or to just take money from people. We wanted to use our position as a 3M distributor to ensure normal supply chain of masks and our intention to do this was based upon the assurances that we were getting shipments imminently from 3M.
We brought the information of increased demand for masks to our 3M sales rep to secure stock for orders, and we have been in constant contact to ensure we could get the inventory we need to fill the demand for respirators. Our rep has been very willing to hear out our concerns, and based on the information that was available from 3M leadership at the time, our rep gave us multiple assurances that orders would ship in due time. We were also informed very early on that 3M was increasing production to 24/7, which would amount to about 100 million masks a month, and that once healthcare and “essential” stock of masks had reached an acceptable level, our orders would release and we would be able to ship them to customers who had been waiting. It had also been stipulated by 3M from the beginning that all orders we placed for masks would not be cancellable, so we made multiple announcements explaining this and our cancellation policy in great detail as we were told we could not cancel reserved stock once we reserved it with 3M. This made a certain amount of sense so that we could ensure the orders being placed would be by and for people that actually needed them, not those who would hoard and price gouge. We were also transparent that reserving this stock and processing orders incurred costs that would need to be recovered in the event of cancellation.
In short, we have been working very closely with 3M on the understanding that we could take orders from you, our customers, and have them filled at some point in the near future once 3M felt they had a handle on the demand for respirators. We have done our best to be transparent about this and looked forward to filling these outstanding orders in the very near future once we got the stock we ordered from 3M.
Unfortunately, due to virtually every person with an internet connection panic-buying respirators (in addition to toilet paper and oddly milk and eggs in normal stores), the demand for respirators has grown beyond 3M’s ability to supply them, even at an apparent 100 million masks a month. Partially and possibly due to a depleted supply in the wake of the fires in Australia and the volcano in the Philippines. Because of this demand/supply situation and because of price gouging and counterfeit products, large market places like Amazon and eBay have shut down all listings for all respirators. There are increasingly fewer supply points for masks and PPE for the foreseeable future. Amazon sellers are given this message:
“In order to ensure that scarce supplies of urgent medical equipment are available to healthcare professionals and first responders during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are no longer permitting the sale of N95 and similar masks in our consumer store. If you have a confirmed, certified supply of these masks available, please contact us at EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED, and we will help connect you directly to healthcare professionals and first responders. Please note Selling Partner Support does not have further guidance. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we navigate this global crisis.”
As part of this initiative in ensuring adequate supply is going directly to those on the “front lines,” 3M (and presumably other manufacturers) are taking great pains to limit orders and verify that any orders that come through are for healthcare or “essential” services. 3M has informed us that any new orders for masks placed with EIO will be required to go through a vetting process which involves filling out a form that we then in turn would have to submit to 3M, 3M would then in turn drop ship directly to the requested address. If you feel you meet 3M’s criteria for securing an order of respirators, please email us prior to ordering to initiate the proper paperwork.
You may read 3M’s message to distributors below.
To: 3M Authorized Channel Partners in the U.S. & Canada
Subject: 3M Respirator Availability Update re: 2019 Novel Coronavirus and COVID-19
Date: March 23, 2020
Dear Valued 3M Channel Partner,
This letter supplements our prior communications regarding the very high demand for 3M respirators resulting from the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV, n/k/a SARS-CoV-2) and its associated disease (COVID-19). As we have seen over the course of this past weekend, there continues to be a significant rise in additional demand for respirators and other personal protective equipment needed by healthcare workers and government agencies.
Given the rapidly changing dynamics, we are taking further actions to shift most of our respirator production output to supply healthcare and government/emergency response. The need to transition supply from industrial to healthcare is likely to continue for the duration of the emergency response being declared and implemented by governments in the U.S., Canada, and around the world.
We know that our respiratory protection products are used by workers in a vast array of industrial, healthcare, and government applications. Effective immediately, all 3M Filtering Facepiece Respirators (FFR) going through 3M Authorized Safety & Industrial Distributors will be released only to support end-user customers operating within critical industrial infrastructure as specified by the U.S. Government – excluding healthcare, hospitals, first responders, and government, which will be serviced through other channels. All orders for these products will be processed via end-user dropship, ensuring that supply is delivered to its intended destination, as quickly as possible. Until further notice, no FFR orders will be shipped to Authorized Distributor warehouses or hubs, or to any other location that is not in scope.
Additionally, we kindly ask that you work with your end-user customers to understand their anticipated consumption levels of 3M respiratory protection products in the near term. If their operations are slowing down, or they are not in critical infrastructure, we ask that they work with you to either return any unopened 3M respirators, or consider donating them to hospitals and first responders that may need additional N95 Filtering Facepiece Respirators.
The following provides an overview of the current situation:
- Since the initial COVID-19 outbreak, we’ve ramped up to maximum production levels of N95 respirators and doubled our global output to a rate of more than 1.1 billion respirators per year, or nearly 100 million per month.
- As the cases of COVID-19 accelerate across the United States and Canada, 3M is receiving an increasing number of requests for large-volume respirator supply to support the healthcare industry and national preparedness efforts.
- In response, 3M is working with the U.S. government and other governments around the world to help address the need of getting respirators to the organizations and individuals that will have the greatest impact on addressing this public health emergency. o In the U.S., this is specific to the following disposable respirator models: 8210, 8210Plus, 8200, 8110S, 8511, 9105, 9105S, 9210+, and 9211+.
- The increasing healthcare and national preparedness demand will further reduce our ability to fully supply our base industrial business until the public health needs start to wane. 3M Authorized Safety & Industrial Distributors placing orders for 3M Filtering Facepiece Respirators will have those orders filled only to the extent needed to service end-users in critical infrastructure, which includes industries such as energy, food and pharmaceutical manufacturing. For guidance on what constitutes a critical infrastructure end-user, please refer to the Memorandum on Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers During COVID-19 Response published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency on March 19, 2020, and available here. (last visited March 22, 2020).
- With the further shift in supply from industrial to healthcare, we are revising our policy on order cancellation for 3M respiratory protection products. 3M Authorized Distributors will have until April 1, 2020, to cancel any pending orders for the following 3M respiratory protection products: Filtering Facepiece Respirators, Reusable Respirators, and Powered & Supplied Air Respirators. All orders for such products that remain pending in the 3M ordering system on April 1, 2020, as well as those placed after that date, will be non-cancelable and will be fulfilled as product becomes available.
- We will continue to prioritize and action respirator fulfillment on a case-by-case basis. As a result, order status will fluctuate based on supply.
- For certain industrial applications, alternative respiratory protection products may be suitable. Our Application Engineering team (available via the 3M Technical Helpline at 1-800-243-4630) can assist you in your evaluation of such alternatives.
3M is in daily contact with our customers and we remain committed to open and honest communication during this rapidly changing situation. If you have questions, please contact your assigned 3M representative.
Thank you for all your work helping to deliver 3M personal protective equipment and medical solutions products to those who need them.
To ensure that we do our part to get masks to the people who need them the most during this crisis, we’re asking that if you have an existing order or want to place a new order and are a healthcare/emergency worker or fall into one of the other essential industries outlined above, we ask that you email us (firstname.lastname@example.org) and work with us to provide the relevant information to 3M so that we can expedite your order. If you do not fall into one of those categories and still have an outstanding order, please feel free to reach out to us. Especially if you do not want your order anymore and wish to donate it to a medical center. We can then work with 3M to get that order shipped to medical staff in dire need.
We thank you all for your continued patience during these unprecedented times and unexpected demand for PPE. We have done our best to be transparent about the inventory situation and have issued updates as often as possible. For those who have been patient and willing to work with us, we greatly appreciate it.