As the COVID-19 crisis has evolved and the pandemic has just about taken its toll on almost every sector across the globe, those working in the personal protective equipment (PPE) industry have also felt the immense pressures of the current business and trading climate.
At ASAP Innovations, along with other businesses operating in the personal protective equipment sector, we have been faced with multiple issues for PPE supplies, including worldwide material shortages, factory closures, increased demand, and fraudulent products. These issues have posed and still pose a threat to the supply of personal protective equipment that is essential for healthcare organisations to have access to and remain on top of their game. Without this, those in the healthcare industry will not be able to continue protecting their staff and patients.
While many areas of the PPE sector have faced its challenges, one product in particular has faced its fair share of highs and lows, the medical-grade glove.
Impacts of COVID-19 on the medical glove industry
The medical glove market saw demand rocketing at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the nitrile disposable glove market increasing by 45%, which equates to 214 billion additional pairs of medical gloves. As a result of this, countries worldwide fell victim to shortages for two key reasons, the availability of the raw materials and the physical capacity of glove manufacturers.
If these two factors weren’t debilitating enough, further issues accompanied these at the end of 2020, where it was revealed that the world’s number one manufacturer of medical gloves had experienced a control movement restriction order in Malaysia. This resulted in over half (55%) of its factories being shut. Furthermore, the world’s third-biggest supplier of medical gloves was forced to shut a quarter (25%) of its factories due to COVID-19 outbreaks among its staff.
But this hasn’t been the only issue to affect Malaysia. Glove manufacturers across the region had their operations suspended in Klang due to the Enhanced Movement Control Order (EMCO) in several districts in Selangor. The EMCO was put in place for 34 districts in Selangor and 14 localities in Kuala Lumpur from July 3 to July 16, 2021. This was then extended for a further two more weeks, meaning the EMCO was in place for almost the entire month of July. According to the Malaysian Rubber Glove Manufacturers Association (MARGMA), the country produces around 60% of the world’s nitrile exam gloves. The restrictions caused mass panic and dread across the sector; however, ASAP Innovations ensured that customers were at the forefront of the issue by informing them of the events that were taking place and putting an inventory management plan into action.
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Source: Health Europa