Ramping Up Mask Manufacturing at 3M

Ramping Up Mask Manufacturing at 3M

March 17, 2020

One of 3M’s largest manufacturing facilities, located in Aberdeen, South Dakota, has ratcheted up production to try to catch up with the growing demand for its N95 respirator masks.

Since there is no vaccine for COVID-19, the masks provide an important first line of defense in keeping medical and other emergency care employees protected while they tend to the needs of infected patients.  At the same time that demand has surged in the medical community, individual consumers have snapped up any available masks for their own personal use, despite the CDC’s claims that healthy individuals need not wear them.


Video Spotlight: 3M ramping up respirator production due to coronavirus (Feb 21, 2020, KSTP)


This post is based on the CNBC article, 3M ramps up N95 respirator production as demand surges from global coronavirus outbreak, by Seema Mody, February 28, 2020; the BBC article, Coronavirus: Sharp to use TV factory to make surgical masks, March 2, 2020; and the YouTube video featured in the Video Spotlight. Image source: Travel mania/Shutterstock.

Discussion Questions:

1. How has 3M been able to rapidly increase its capacity?

Guidance: 3M was not fully utilizing its mask production facility, so it Continue reading

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Sour Grapes: Oversupply of Wine Forces Price Drops

Sour Grapes: Oversupply of Wine Forces Price Drops

March 8, 2020

For two decades, wine sales have increased. Until this year.

With wine sales dropping unexpectedly, it has caused an oversupply of grapes that was not in the forecast by California wineries.  The result of the oversupply of grapes combined with lagging wine sales is a reduction in the price of wine.

It takes five years from planning to harvest for wine grapes on average. Experts predict the demand/supply imbalance in grape harvests will not be resolved for another 2-3 years.


Video Spotlight:


This post is based on the CNN article, The price of wine is dropping fast, by Allen Kim, February 17, 2020, and the YouTube videos featured in the Video Spotlight. Image source: Dmitri Ma/Shutterstock.

Discussion Questions:

1. What are the challenges to long-term forecasting for grape production?

Guidance: This article provides a good lead-in to review the risks to long-term forecast estimates.  Students should note that all long-term forecasts are very risky due to factors such as market changes, political policies, Continue reading

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Forecast: Red Hot Valentine’s Day Spending

Forecast: Red Hot Valentine’s Day Spending

February 23, 2020

Following a strong holiday spending season, Valentine’s Day forecasts by the National Retail Federation promised that cupid would deliver strong sales as well.

Surveys indicated that for the 55 percent of the population who celebrate Valentine’s Day, spending in 2020 was due to be up an average of 21 percent to $196.31 over 2019’s record $161.96.

Fifty-two percent of the spending is for spouses and significant others, a smaller share than in the past, but shoppers have broadened the range and amounts they spend for those in other categories, including pets!


Video Spotlight: Valentine’s Day spending trends


This post is based on the National Retail Federation article, Confident consumers and broader buying lead to record Valentine’s Day spending plans, by J. Craig Shearman, January 30, 2020, and the YouTube video, Valentine’s Day spending trends, by 41 Action News, February 14, 2020. Image source: picalotta/Getty Images

Discussion Questions:

1. What does the Retail Trade Association claim are the variables that affect its forecasts for Valentine’s spending? On what will the money be spent?

Guidance: The same strong employment figures and higher incomes that brought a great holiday season for retailers in December 2019, should also buoy purchases for Continue reading

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