Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) has become one of the most sought after commodities in the market. A large number of businesses have sprung up that manufacture and sell PPE in various grades of quality.
We consider the implications in this newly emerging market and the role logistics and storage companies will play in the coming months.
The Rising Demand for PPE
The rate of new infections and deaths from COVID 19 has declined in the UK after strict implementation of social distancing measures. Government agencies, individuals and private businesses have come together and implemented a variety of procedures that limit viral transmission from person to person.
Many UK businesses have started to reopen and economic activity has resumed. However, there are some strict measures of control in place. One of them is the use of PPE, such as facial masks, hand gloves and eye protection. It is a key requirement in the ‘new normal’ way of life if we want to seriously contain a second wave of COVID 19.
As the demand for PPE equipment rises, we have seen severe shortages in the market. Healthcare workers and NHS staff in particular complained about the lack of protective equipment at their facilities.
Doctors, nurses and paramedical staff are our front-line of defence against the virus. The government increased its efforts to ensure medical teams were fully supplied with adequate protective equipment. New manufacturers and suppliers were encouraged to come forward and the private sector has been quick to respond.
Logistics in PPE
A large number of PPE manufacturing and supply businesses have been formed over the past couple of months. Many of these operations are run from online stores because it is more profitable to sell them online then at a high street store.
PPE is a good investment for online retailers because the products are consumable which ensures demand stays high. They have a long shelf life which reduces waste. Equipment like masks, hand gloves and shoe covers come in boxes of 10, 50, or 100 that can be easily stored at a warehouse and delivered directly to the customer’s home through a logistics company.
There are certain regulatory requirements for the storage, handling and delivery of PPE. For example, face masks are made from synthesized polyethylene material and they must be stored at normal room temperature in dry boxes to maintain the quality. On-demand warehouses are well equipped to store the items in accurate conditions.
Hospitals, offices and other businesses are bulk buyers of PPE. Individual households also buy a substantial amount of PPE but orders tend to be smaller, a couple of boxes at most. A dedicated warehouse with a variety of delivery options and order quantity makes it easier for on-line stores to sell them to their customers.