Workwear, Corona COVID-19 virus • 6 min read

Workwear value chain: your contribution is needed to keep the frontline men and women protected

Marcel Willems March 26, 2020

The coronavirus crisis affects all industries, ranging from a complete stand-still like we see with many bars, restaurants, social events and sports competitions across the globe to overloaded healthcare systems that can barely cope with the huge number of corona-patients, to all the supermarkets that are vital in providing the essential needs. Each country takes their own measures and as the virus spreads further, measures become more rigorous. Many countries have already opted for the lock-down scenario and/or closing borders whereby even more industries are affected and are obliged to stop their operations.

THE WORKWEAR VALUE CHAIN: IDENTIFIED AS VITAL

However, in those countries where we see this happening, long lists of specific activities within industries are exempt from closing down their operations. Amongst these we see the supply of PPE in general, workwear and protective clothing in particular. Italy and several US-states have already identified workwear and protective clothing for healthcare, food supply, utilities, emergency services and military as vital, which makes companies that produce these goods ‘life-sustaining businesses’. At the same time, all of us in this value chain also depend on industries that are affected negatively and where sales have come to a complete stand-still.

Hence many partners in our value chain are experiencing huge drops in sales. Depending on your customer base and also the funds made available per country, some companies continue operating and some others need to take drastic measures to survive. And this in turn will affect their capability to continue their supply, even if their supply is needed to help those workers in the vital jobs with the protective materials they urgently need.

THE SCOPE OF THE (PROTECTIVE) WORKWEAR VALUE CHAIN

As you can see, in order to provide a finished set of workwear, every link in the chain is a vital element. Breaking the chain – taking out one of its links – will increase the risk of not having enough workwear available:

protective workwear value chain(Protective) workwear value chain

KEEP OPERATING TO RESPOND TO THE URGENT NEEDS OF THESE VITAL WORKERS

Today’s challenge of the workwear value chain: ensuring to keep all these frontline men and women protected with the workwear they need. That is why we:

  • Reach out to all our partners in the value chain; let’s stand strong together, do whatever we can to continue our operations to ensure all these frontline men and women stay safe and protected.
  • Urge all European governments to help keep this industry going, for the sake of the end user of these garments

We at TenCate Protective Fabrics will continue to work hard to keep those front-line heroes safe by doing everything we can in these difficult times to continue the supply of protective materials. For example, when Tunesia had closed their borders we immediately started to investigate what we could do to continue supplying our customers there so they could supply the end users. And we also urged them to join in and demand for exemptions from the Tunesian government. I am sure we will face many more of these challenges, but they are nothing compared to what some others have to do to save peoples’ lives.

"Let's make that difference, today" - Marcel Willems

So please let’s keep the workwear value chain alive. Let’s work together, let’s help each other, let’s not give up, let’s treat everyone in the value chain as partners and not just customers or suppliers. In times of crisis, we will cooperate with our partners up and down the value chain to find creative ways to do our part to help protect these frontline heroes. Join us!

 

Picture of Marcel Willems

Marcel Willems

Vice President of Sales & Business Development | TenCate Protective Fabrics