In 2020 the worst pandemic in a century shook the world, bringing with it massive lockdowns, economic hardship, and the loss of family members, friends and loved ones. This pandemic has shifted the way that every human operates and has forced businesses to revamp their own operating models to compensate for a lack of face-to-face interaction. Entering 2020 at Peke, we never expected that it would become the year of PPE. In just one short year, a 3-letter initialism primarily used by medical and industrial workers is now on the minds of almost every human being on the planet.
Before the pandemic, PPE was widely available for facilities in need. Personal protective equipment was supplied to healthcare institutions via lean supply chains in the same way paper towels were to grocery stores. Just-in-time supply chains between major manufacturers and end users were efficient and had eliminated the need for stockpiling of goods. All that changed in March of 2020, with the world suddenly experiencing a massive shortage of personal protective equipment and medical supplies in hospitals, nursing homes, and other medical facilities, as the general public suddenly needed access to those very same items. Exacerbated by confusing and haphazard responses at government level, the market became a free-for-all, with many PPE companies suddenly sold out of whatever they had. Suddenly, new manufacturers were filling the breach, many of them selling products of dubious quality, effectiveness, and with no prior references or certifications.
At Peke Safety and Peke Response, 2020 created a unique challenge for us. We’ve been selling NIOSH and EN compliant PPE globally, direct to consumers, businesses, and governments for almost 10 years. In that time, we have always prioritized providing the right product for the right application and having parts and spares available when needed. We consider it our duty to ensure our customers are being kept safe at all times. Suddenly, we’ve been put in a position of having constrained supplies of parts and spares we have had on hand for years, having our ads reviewed (and often removed) by social media platforms simply because we talk about PPE, and dealing with customers who had suffered price gouging in their desperation to get hands on what they needed to protect themselves, their workers, and their families.
We expect that the supply chain will continue to be constrained through at least the middle of this year,especially as the number of COVID-19 cases continue to increase rapidly around the world and new strains of the virus are being discovered. Education and economic realities are likely to be a factor as well, as we can only go so long without kids in school and with non-essential service sector workers furloughed and unable to earn a living.
In response to the shifting landscape, Peke Safety is taking the following steps to ensure we will continue to be a reliable PPE supplier for our customers going forward:
- Inventory orders placed 6 months out
- Inbound shipping methods changed to save costs and stabilize end-user pricing
- Diversifying suppliers
- Adding more non-CN sourced disposable PPE to suit customer needs
- Adding distribution channels, including Amazon.com and re-enabling Amazon Pay
- Additional FAQ and How-To Resources on Pekesafety.com
- New subscription offerings for spares and disposables, allowing customers to maintain steady product availability throughout the year
Unfortunately, 2020 wasn’t a box we could shove in the attic and forget about as the challenges we faced will and are continuing into 2021.We here at Peke Safety and Peke Response will continue to work to the best of our abilities to provide you with the highest quality of PPE you are in need of in a timely manner. We want to thank all of you for trusting in us throughout such a difficult year and are here for your questions, concerns, product requests or needs at any time.
Stay safe out there.