Elenor Bernelow Loyd
Vice President Total DefenceContact Elenor
The private sector’s willingness to help when it comes to supplying society became clear when the pandemic struck. But helping takes more than commitment, it also requires knowledge of the requirements and regulations that exist for a product to be able to reach the market, even during a crisis. With its expertise in certification and quality requirements, RISE can help the private sector meet society’s needs for supply and crisis contingency.
When the pandemic struck, people started helping each other with things like shopping and childcare. Many companies were also looking for ways in which to contribute. This was needed. It suddenly became difficult to get hold of products needed in healthcare and care for the elderly. Things we thought we knew about value chains and globalisation suddenly no longer applied.
Instead, several Swedish companies spontaneously adjusted their production to deliver the products needed in healthcare and care for the elderly. None of the decisions that needed to be taken were obvious and none were risk-free. There is currently no clear business model for companies that make voluntary adjustments and if many parties start to manufacture the same products of which there is a shortage, the shortages may be remedied before some companies have completed their adjustment.
At RISE, Tommy Hertzberg is responsible for a special focus area called “Public Safety and Resilience”. Through its collaborations with industry, RISE has a good overview of the overall Swedish production system.
– “We are conducting research with the aim of understanding what Swedish production could actually adjust to and contribute in a crisis. Our new centre for “additive manufacturing,” or simply “3D printing” represents a highly interesting field to study and include in a possible Swedish production resource in situations when normal supply chains fail. But there are also other, more traditional production paths that should be included. It is good to know that foundries and injection moulds are still available.
Hertzberg explains that this is knowledge that can also be useful for companies that are considering making adjustments before or during a crisis. RISE’s overview can help companies get a picture of the market and how their product idea stands up against what is otherwise available. Companies also look for knowledge about the requirements that apply both to products and production.
– “At RISE, we are experts in certification and quality requirements and we can answer anything from which regulations a certain product needs to fulfil to the requirements that apply to manufacturing when it comes to environmental impact and production conditions. Of course, large companies that regularly make adjustments will often already possess this knowledge or channels to quickly obtain such knowledge. But for smaller companies, I believe that contact with us could be crucial to whether they are able to contribute and make adjustments in an appropriate manner. Our knowledge can provide a shortcut that will help smaller companies to lower the costs associated with production adjustments.”
RISE can provide excellent support to companies looking for tools to voluntarily help with social contingency
Through the institute’s well established links to the authorities, research communities and industry, RISE can ensure that companies reach the right local authority officials, sectoral authorities or researchers.
– “This could involve anything from us introducing contacts to a company or convening a meeting where companies can explain to the right people what they can deliver for the assignment concerned,” Hertzberg explains.
During the pandemic, RISE actually adjusted its own production in order to both quality-assure the personal protective equipment that had to be procured quickly from new suppliers and to provide advice to companies that were looking to adjust their production to meet new needs.
– “This was not a one-off event. RISE can provide excellent support to companies looking for tools to voluntarily help with social contingency before or during a crisis. Everyone is calling for information when there is a crisis. RISE is often a great source for that information,” Hertzberg summarises.