Friday Five

The Friday Five: Charmin Deemed “Life Sustaining”

March 20, 2020

Charmin Toilet Paper Plant Exempt from PA Shutdown - USA Today

Procter & Gamble Co.’s largest manufacturing site in Mehoopany, PA, will continue cranking out Charmin toilet paper at record levels to meet demand spurred by coronavirus panic buying. 

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf ordered all businesses that aren’t “life sustaining” to close by 8 p.m. on Thursday in an effort to curb the spread of the respiratory illness COVID-19. Good news for us, exemptions to the shutdown included the standard hospitals, groceries, banks, gas stations, farms and – converted paper product manufacturing! 

Maintaining production will come as a relief to American consumers: shortages of paper products, notably toilet paper and paper towels quickly occurred as consumers' concerns about the pandemic grew.

The Mehoopany, PA plant is P&G’s largest maker of paper products. In addition to Charmin, the Mehoopany plant makes and distributes Bounty paper towels, Pampers and Luvs diapers.

Demand for paper goods has been so intense P&G has fired up a previously idled factory in Georgia in under two-weeks time, a process which would normally take months. 

P&G operates six paper products plants across the U.S., the other five are in: Albany, Georgia; Box Elder, Utah; Cape Girardeau, Missouri; Green Bay, Wisconsin; and Oxnard, California

Walmart to hire 150,000 people, give $550 million in bonuses - Yahoo

Walmart Inc. is hiring 150,000 hourly associates workers to meet surging demand for everyday goods, as the U.S. retail giant prepares to start coronavirus tests in store parking lots this weekend.

The new employees will largely work in distribution centers and many will become permanent staff over time, Walmart said in a statement. The 150,000 people hiring spree will take place now through the end of May across Walmart’s stores, clubs, distribution centers, and fulfillment centers. 

Walmart, which currently employs 1.4 million associates in the U.S., also announced it will pay out a total of $550 million in cash bonuses, including a special one-time bonus for its associates to reward their “hard work and dedication” during the COVID-19 pandemic.

All U.S. hourly employees are expected to receive a bonus on April 2 -- $300 for full-time staff and $150 for part-timers. It will accelerate its next scheduled quarterly bonus payment, slated for May, to late April.

The moves together will cost Walmart slightly more than it makes in operating profit in the U.S. each week.

Work-from-home demand compounds computer shortage - WSJ

Demand for laptops and personal computers has surged as most of the nation begins to work from home, at a time when computer makers are experiencing supply chain disruptions related to the outbreak in China.

Equipment makers were already grappling with supply-chain bottlenecks before demand in U.S. spiked. The result has been a shortage of new laptops in stores, and manufacturers say they're working to find ways to meet the growing demand.

Automakers could start manufacturing medical equipment - CNBC

General Motors and Ford are studying whether they can use their auto factories to support production of ventilators and other medical equipment to help combat the coronavirus pandemic sweeping across the nation. Earlier in the day, both Ford and GM announced they would be closing North American factories through March 30.

Reportedly, GM would use open areas for production rather than reconfigure equipment. It would not be re-tooling or changing the equipment it uses to build vehicles, but may have extra space in some factories that could be used to manufacture ventilators. Ford also confirmed the company has had preliminary discussions with the US government and is looking into the feasibility of producing medical equipment.

Coronavirus leads to flood of cyberthreats - ZDNet

Malware authors and fraudsters aren't letting a tragedy go to waste. Thousands of COVID-19 scam and malware sites are being created on a daily basis. Nine out of Ten of these sites are being used to host phishing attacks, distribute malware-laced files, or for financial fraud, for tricking users into paying for fake COVID-19 cures, supplements, or vaccines according to research by ZDNet. Over the course of the last week, several security researchers have noted a spike in the number of coronavirus-related domains, with attacks growing in conjunction with the disease's spread.

It's amply clear that these attacks exploit coronavirus fears and people's hunger for information about the outbreak. Given the impact on the security of businesses and individuals alike, it's essential to avoid falling victim to online scams and practice good digital hygiene in addition to washing of the hands! Stay safe out there!

Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to check out last week’s news and stay tuned for our next Friday Five roundup! 

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