Challenges and Trends in the Gloves Supply Chain

Date: 18.01.2022 | Nastah- The Hand Protector

The gloves supply chain is one of those that have been severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic over the past 24 months and it’s caused a ripple effect across all parts of the value chain.

As we enter 2022 with more optimism, we thought we’d use this article to talk through some of the challenges we still see in the gloves supply chain as well as an exploration of the trends that we’re likely to see play out in 2022 and beyond.

Challenges:

1. Shipment Delays.

There remains a significant supply chain backlog worldwide that is delaying gloves deliveries amongst other things.

Many importers worry about shipment delays that are caused by cancellations on the part of the shipping company itself. This can be because of a lack of containers, congested ports, long transit times, etc.

As most of the global gloves supply comes from South East Asia, shipments to Europe and the USA have become increasingly challenging – pushing up freight costs and increasing waiting times.

This is unavoidable in our present condition, but hopefully, this will ease over time.

2. Razor-Thin Margins.

Following on the point above, the gloves industry struggles to absorb increased shipping costs because the products are low-margin in nature.

As such, shipping is a significant proportion of the cost base – leaving less operational flexibility to play with in times of backlog.

3. Cheap, poor-quality products.

The industry continues to be straddled by low-quality manufacturers who produce and sell gloves that are well below the standard that our buyers expect.

This reflects badly on the industry and reduces the trust that buyers have across the value chain.

4. Underpaid Labour.

In the price war that is part and parcel of being in the gloves industry, there are some players that resort to extremely low wages for their staff to try and compete.

This is not fair to the workers and perpetuates a dangerous cycle where the crucial work is undervalued and unappreciated.

Trends:

1. Decentralized Manufacturing.

A key trend that should serve to mitigate the risks of supply chain backlogs in the future is to decentralize the industry and allow more players to compete across a wide range of geographies.

This means that buyers can access suppliers that don’t rely on the heavily trafficked supply chain routes and are immunized from larger macro-economic shocks as a result.

2. Third-Party Audits.

More and more buyers are looking to secure third-party audits of the suppliers they work with to ensure sufficient quality of production and fair treatment of workers.

This is great news for the industry as it will start to weed out those organizations that cut corners and reward those who are genuinely trying to run a sustainable business and support all their stakeholders.

3. Increased Concerns about Hygiene.

The pandemic has forced a global reckoning into our hygiene practices at home and in our workplaces.

This will support strong growth in the gloves sector across the board, as more people recognize the value that these products provide.

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Hopefully, that analysis gives you a sense of where the gloves industry is at present and where it looks like it might be going in the future. It’s an exciting time to be emerging from the COVID-19 shadow and we can start to push forward towards a strong and sustainable future.

Here at Nastah, we manufacture a range of different gloves for clients all around the world and if you’re looking for gloves – we would love to help.

Check out our catalogue and get in touch if you’d like to explore the possibilities.

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