HSE on PPE in 2016
According to Stephen Burrow, general manager, HSE Solutions, the personal protective equipment (PPE) industry experienced a very tough year in 2015.
“The rapid fall of the rand put devastating pressure on costing. Multiple price increases were, therefore, necessary as the exchange rate reached crippling levels,” he explains.
“The record lows in commodity prices also put pressure on end-users, who were subsequently forced to cut costs. This reduction in spending hurt PPE suppliers and distributors. Another significant factor was the ongoing turmoil in the labour market. All indications are that there will be no improvement in labour unrest, and, as a result, many companies are looking to mechanisation.”
Burrow is realistic in his expectations of 2016: “It is almost guaranteed that 2016 will be even tougher than 2015. With the exchange rate likely to get worse before it gets better, manufacturers, wholesale suppliers and distributors are going to come under severe pricing pressure and will face challenges in terms of availability of products,” he warns.
In the face of such bad news, he does, however, offer practical advice to ease any PPE predicaments companies might face. “Restrict the number of suppliers and brands to those that provide a full basket of offerings,” he suggests.
“By using reputable suppliers, who are able to provide proper PPE needs assessments, training, support, availability of products and quality, end-users will find that they will enjoy the best balance between price and cost.”
On this point, he assures that, during 2016, HSE solutions will focus on competitive pricing, high levels of service, stronger support, a growing product basket and continued innovation.
“Instead of focusing purely on price, end-users should be looking towards driving genuine cost savings. Looking exclusively at cheap products ignores the value of quality, durability and support,” he concludes.