“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”
This age-old adage stands tall as one of the most unchallenged proverbs to date. Working safe may get old but so do who practice it, rest are succumbing to massive uncalculated risks. That’s why PPE has always been a concern of importance in specific industries like construction, mining, chemical, etc. In light of the recent developments, this saying has become even more imperative. The reach of COVID-19 is expansive, and the scars left are indelible. With the world unlocking, the demand for PPE kit delivery business isn’t just coming from the healthcare industry but all other sectors where the human touch is inevitable.
What is PPE and How COVID 19 Sparked off PPE Industry?
Personal Protective Equipment is a particular sort of equipment aimed at creating a barrier between human bodies and germs. The ambit of PPE ranges from masks & respirators to eye protectors like face shields & glasses to clothing items like gowns, gloves, coveralls etc.
The emergence of COVID is spreading the growth of the PPE kit industry like a wildfire. Despite supply chain disruptions, markets have witnessed a buoyant boom. As per Invest India, India alone stands as a market worth approximately $1 billion for PPE. Earlier it was anticipated that the market would garner a revenue of $51.8 billion. Estimates have been revised to $53.2 billion, post-COVID. The global PPE market was valued at $43.9 bn in 2018 and is expected to touch $93.5 bn by 2026, witnessing a 10% CAGR.
Surging demand, lockdown, halted production, and restricted international trades have caused ripples of disruption in the global supply chain. Amidst this chaos, domestic manufacturers rose to the occasion, changed their business models, and produced PPE kit on a mammoth scale.
PPE delivery firms might adopt a B2B model. In that case, their target audience would be labor associations, companies in the industrial & manufacturing sectors, fire, and safety officers. Small-scale firms or start-ups might even go for a B2G model where they sell their produce directly to the government. As far as retail is concerned, in-house e-commerce platforms or existing e-commerce platforms can be entrusted. Essentials can also be delivered via e-stores or apps on which other related products and services can also be integrated. Such data-driven apps are generally based on freemium models where premiums are charged for personalized services. PPE Kit suppliers are divided into three categories: Best-in-Class, Organised and Unorganised players.
The Road Ahead
Some places witnessed stockpiling of PPE post-SARS epidemic in 2002-2004, and these stocks served as a boon during COVID 19. Stockpiling of critical elements post-Covid might also be one of the avenues to look at as the world has been witnessing disasters and pandemics at an interval of every 2-3 years.
Healthcare PPE already sees surging demands. As workplace safety is of utmost importance to employers, the industrial PPE segment will also witness an upsurge. As infection control becomes a serious issue, consumer behaviour will drive an upsurge in the consumer PPE segment as well.
A multi-pronged strategy adopted by the government will enable local producers to produce PPE. Trade finance programs by national and multilateral organizations will also expedite the growth of the PPE industry, encouraging more and more small scale industries as well to join hands. In such scenarios, the focus would be on localizing, regionalizing, and securing short supply lines. Advance technical know-how and analytics would come handy in the management of supply chain processes to monitor and meet the demand for critical products.
Disposal of PPE is harmful for the environment and therefore, an inclination towards reusable PPE might be observed in light of sustainability issues. As PPE industry is already facing pricing pressures and witnessing increasing commoditization of products, strategic differentiation of products will have a major role to play.
The competition in the PPE industry will take a very different face in 2030, driven by innovation and disruptive business models focusing on smart & wearable PPE with optimum efficiency and efficacy.
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