Which types of manufacturing asset can be repurposed?


Bridging the capacity gap requires efficient decision-making, best achieved through a systematic prioritization framework that engages the most relevant manufacturers.


Using surgical masks and the N95 respirator as an example, here are three universal steps to help quickly identify the best-fit manufacturing segments for repurposing and generating additional production capacity.

  • Analyze the production characteristics of each vital product and match against relevant industries.

  • Assess the capacity projection for current business with relevant industries

  • Prioritize.

Here’s a list of manufacturer groups with key production elements and existing manufacturing processes with the necessary criteria for repurposing (see figure 1).

Note that not all sub-segments of the above-listed manufacturing segments are relevant to the product type. For example, motor vehicles and components manufacturing covers a large variety of production facilities. Instead, focus on the sub-segments that are most relevant, such as sound insulation manufacturers who share the same non-woven raw materials and similar production processes with respirator mask manufacturing. Motor vehicle OEMs possessing large and flexible production footprints and deep automation engineering expertise and highly qualified labor should also be considered (see figure 2).


Like any other business, manufacturers are also subject to disruption due to capacity shifts during the COVID-19 outbreak (see figure 3). While this should be taken into account, it may be overcome through the intervention and support of governments.


Prioritize manufacturing industries according to the ease of repurposing and capacity projection assessments dimensions. Figure 4 shows an example for surgical masks and N95 respirators.

Each manufacturing industry and relevant sub-segments are then prioritized by quadrant: