Corona Crisis: Making the Impossible Possible

Jul 03, 2020 Digital & Product Solutions

Teamwork for supercomputers, production changeovers or accelerated testing processes: The Corona crisis brings out unusual ideas that wouldn’t have been conceivable in normal times.

Gigantic computing power

In normal day-to-day business, Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and IBM are in fierce competition with each other. But now the tech giants have shown there can also be cooperation. Under the auspices of the US government, they have joined forces – together with other partners such as Nasa and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology – to form the “Covid-19-High-Performance Computing Consortium” to support research on the quest for effective remedies. The consortium currently comprises 16 supercomputer systems with computing capacities of 330 petaflops. For your information: One petaflop corresponds to one quadrillion computing operations per second. The “Summit” developed by IBM shows what a supercomputer can do. With its help, researchers at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory were able to filter out 77 active ingredients from more than 8,000 compounds in just two days, all of which are suitable for the fight against Covid-19. With conventional laboratory research, this would have taken years.

Companies support companies

Putting toilet paper and noodles on the shelf instead of frying burgers and fries? No problem, thought McDonald’s and Aldi, who entered into a unique cooperation to date during the corona crisis. The background: Since the massive increase in demand for food was putting a severe strain on the discounter’s capacities, especially in sales and logistics, and on the other hand numerous branches of the fast food chain were closed, the two industry giants quickly agreed on a personnel partnership. In this partnership, McDonald’s employees were specifically placed with Aldi and deployed there as required.

Disinfectant instead of perfume

Luxury companies such as Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy (LVMH), based in Paris, actually earn their money with perfume, champagne, jewelry, watches, and other valuable goods. In mid-March 2020, however, company boss Bernard Arnault instructed three locations of his group’s cosmetics and perfume division to produce hydro alcoholic gels in view of the shortage of disinfectants in France. The focus was not on their own profit. Instead, the gels were distributed free of charge – primarily to hospitals in France. Other French cosmetics manufacturers such as L’Oréal, Rocher, and Sisley also joined the LVMH initiative. During the Corona crisis in Germany, alcohol manufacturers such as Jägermeister, Klosterfrau, or Pernod Ricard also entered the production of disinfectants.

Fruit and vegetables from the parcel carrier

When the yellow DHL vehicle stops at your front door, you know that the package you ordered has finally arrived. In the Heinsberg area, which has been particularly badly affected by the corona virus, Deutsche Post and DHL Paket supplied especially older citizens and other risk groups with unchilled food and everyday household goods from the end of March to mid-May 2020. Rewe has been on board as a retailer since the beginning of the project and Edeka was added a little later. DHL has also implemented similar projects with partners outside Germany – for example in Australia together with Woolworth and in the UK with Morrisons.

Simplified standards and rules

Protective gear and medical products such as respiratory masks and respirators are needed more urgently than ever in the corona crisis. For several weeks now, numerous companies in the automotive and supplier industry have therefore been supporting medical technology production and the manufacture of personal protective equipment. The Daimler Group, for example, is using 3D printers to produce individual components needed to produce medical equipment. The Spanish Volkswagen subsidiary Seat is building mechanical ventilation aids. Mahle and the underwear manufacturer Triumph are cooperating in the production of respiratory masks. Specifically for this purpose, the market supervisory authorities have defined simplified processes for the market entry in response to the recommendation of the EU Commission of March 13, 2020. Incidentally, the DEKRA test laboratories in Arnhem (Netherlands) and Málaga (Spain) also test and certify respiratory equipment for patients in hospitals under this accelerated procedure.