The purpose is clear. We all want to be well, we want to protect the vulnerable, and we want those who take care of us to be safe.
The present situation is a bit more ambiguous. The facts are that there are hundreds of thousands sick globally and tens of thousands lost in 202 countries. There is a shortage of medical supplies for the care givers. Society is effectively on lockdown except for people in essential jobs. The economic impact of all of this is beyond my understanding but I do know it will be historic.
The next steps as an individual are reasonably straightforward. Stay home, be calm, do what you can to avoid being infected, and avoid infecting the household. Personally, as a professional, I want to do more and I feel that my skills and gifts are under utilized.
I have had some moments of clarity how I can help in this crisis. It seems there is an opportunity to help retrofit idle manufacturing facilities for producing medical supplies to increase the availability for the workers on the medical front line. There have been some big contracts signed with some big producers which have the capacity and workforce to get things out within a month. This is impressive and monumental. Does this mean that this request by the federal leaders has been filled? Perhaps, perhaps not. Regardless, the government's "call to action" form has pretty specific requests which I can not meet, although they ask this question:
"Does your company have other products that can help?"
The response to this question is a firm yes. Continuous Improvement (Lean, Six Sigma, Industrial Engineering, TWI) can help. Times of crisis require the efforts of everybody and a quick response. We are biased to firefighting and hero cultures which reward an immediate result regardless of defects, repairs, and losses. Long term sustainability is often traded for the immediate. This kind of crisis requires the immediate action but the long term benefits of mindful decision making right now could be monumental.
I will do my part by sharing what I know and crafting the content I've been describing. I hope it can get into the hands of somebody who can use it. When we see the other end of this we will be working against an economic crisis where we will need every advantage that we can use and this science is one that works.