R&D tax credit specialists, RIFT Research and Development Ltd, have rounded up some the best R&D pivots from businesses changing their output in order to help in the fight against COVID-19.
While some gestures from big-name companies like EE have been self gratuitous, to say the least, other names such as Brewdog Armani, Ford and Uber have pledged support to help produce sorely needed equipment and facilities to help front line, healthcare workers.
Hand sanitiser has been in high demand and consumer goods giant Procter and Gamble have created new production lines at five factories to manufacture a huge 45,000 litres of sanitiser every week.
They’ve been joined by a number of alcohol companies such as Anheuser-Busch InBev, best know for making Budweiser, Brewdog and spirits manufacturer, Pernod Ricard; who are all utilising their facilities and surplus alcohol to help. More randomly, luxury goods maker, LVMH, who would usually be making well-known brands such as Louis Vitton, has also converted its perfume factories in France to help.
They aren’t the only luxury goods name to join the fight. With a severe shortage of protective equipment for health workers, Prada is making some 80,000 hospital gowns and 110,000 face masks for Italian hospitals as well as donating two ICUs.
Barbour has turned its focus from jackets and other items of clothing to producing 23,000 medical gowns in just three weeks with more to come, while Armani has focussed all production efforts at its Italian factories to on making single-use medical overalls.
Snap Labs is now making protective face shields for medical workers instead of their photo glasses while manufacturing giant Siemens is producing face masks and offering a global 3D printing network for designers and producers of medical devices completely free of charge.
IKEA is also working on producing protective masks, hand sanitiser, visors and gowns, while also opening a drive-through testing centre at a site in Wembley in partnership with the NHS.
Car giant Ford is providing technical support via its R&D team to create a simplified design of the well-needed healthcare ventilator. They’ve also provided engineers to help in the production of powered air-purifying respirators
Rolls Royce, Dyson, Tesla and General Motors have all also joined the fight in delivering enough ventilators to meet current demand.
Not all efforts have required and R&D pivot though. Airbnb has provided housing for 100,000 pandemic responders via volunteer hosts of the platform around the world and Uber is pledging £10m worth of free riders and food deliveries for healthcare workers, senior citizens and other vulnerable people.
Director of RIFT Research and Development Ltd, Sarah Collins said, “The current pandemic has really shown the best of what R&D has to offer the world. We’ve seen a whole host of big names, and plenty of smaller ones, ploughing resources and efforts into fighting COVID-19 by developing and producing products that would usually be alien to them as a brand and a business.
“Whether it be through altering production to meet demand or the research into the disease itself, R&D has a huge role to play in the current climate. We would urge any business, regardless of how big, to consider how they might be able to help through the innovation of their current sector, or by pivoting into a new one.
“For those UK based businesses, any R&D work carried could also qualify for Government tax relief so not only can you do your bit to help, but you may be able to recover some of the costs in what is shaping up to be a difficult year financially. That includes the work done by those who have changed direction completely, as the adaptation of an existing manufacturing process could also qualify, even if the end product isn’t unique.”