Driven by quality
To differentiate itself from the plethora of personal protective equipment (PPE) suppliers, Dromex has committed to supplying premium-quality, fit-for-purpose products. The company’s market success is clear evidence that this is working.
The local PPE arena has changed dramatically over the last decade or so. For example, more and more small and medium suppliers have emerged, and PPE is now available as a retail item at local hardware and building supply stores.
Stel Stylianou, CEO of Dromex, says the difference between the producers is in terms of quality and price. “Many producers in the PPE category have aimed down in quality to maintain price, but here we differ …”
Stylianou refers to Dromex’s partnership with top manufacturers, that are leaders in their own areas of the PPE industry, and are up to date with the latest available technologies as well as European standards and requirements. “Being first-class manufacturers with in-house testing facilities is a key area for product selection,” he notes.
And Dromex selects only the best, Stylianou tells us; explaining that new technologies have emerged that now enable more comfortable “wearer-friendly” PPE products that have raised the bar in terms of performance and safety to the user.
“For example,” he illustrates, “not so long ago, asbestos gloves were the order of the day in South Africa, but now there are gloves, like our Taeki5 range, that are not only safe to use, but perform better as well. Take respirators – many on the market are uncomfortable and they don’t need to be. The Dromex Droair respirator is a super-comfortable, high-end product.”
Stylianou should know about selecting quality products, having started Dromex in 1998 and grown the company into a reputable supplier of consistent-quality PPE. “This emphasis on service delivery and quality was a key factor that drove the growth of our products under the Dromex brand, and today we are undoubtedly a leading supplier of PPE,” he smiles proudly.
Operating out of its 30 000 m² warehouse in New Germany, Durban (and having recently opened a fully kitted-out showroom, training and interaction centre in Bedfordview, Johannesburg), Dromex is able to sustain its inventory model so that distributors are able to source and deliver high-demand stock within two to three days, at ultra-competitive prices …
“We are committed to supplying premium-quality products at competitive prices, with stock being available at all times to support our service-delivery programme. Our competitors cannot supply the same quality at these prices.
“All employees, in any work environment, are entitled to receive the correct, fit-for-purpose personal protective equipment. We believe that employers should not have to compromise on quality when looking after the health and safety of their employees in the workplace,” Stylianou explains.
“Quality control and stock availability obviously need to be consistent and central to this belief. We have, therefore, also invested heavily in our professional team of sales and technical experts, who are able to provide much-needed training and advice to our customer base of distributors and end users,” he continues.
This brings us back to the company’s new Johannesburg facility, opened as part of the Dromex commitment to raise industry standards. This new facility is managed by experts who train the sales staff of distributors, safety officers and, in Stylianou’s words, “quite honestly anyone who needs to understand first-class PPE!”
In attending the forthcoming Electra Mining exhibition, Dromex is intent on using the platform to extend this commitment. Here, the company will feature a wide range of products, placing particular emphasis on its unique selection of gloves, including: the international Taeki range with Cut Level 5 options; the highly popular, cost-effective Unifit respiratory systems; and an expanded range of top-quality workwear, eyewear, hearing and footwear.
“We’re looking forward to making contact with people who are committed to improving the quality standards in this category and selecting the correct fit-for-purpose health and safety products for their workforce,” Stylianou explains.
“The OSH Expo we attended in May also demonstrated the brand’s commitment, with the market realising that we are very serious about quality. The Expo produced excellent results for the Dromex brand: we secured many quality leads and enjoyed valuable interaction with potential customers. We were also very proud to receive the Best Stand Award for our category!”
So, what’s next for this passionate company? Stylianou won’t divulge too much, but is mindful of looking at the latest best practice and keen on initiatives such as the phasing out of DMF (Dimethylformanide) solvents from some coatings (harmful to humans and the environment) and the introduction of a water based MIIZU product, developed with Bayer, that is a solvent-free waterborne coated glove.
It is initiatives like this that allow Dromex to continue differentiating itself as a key role-player in the sub-Saharan PPE supply chain.