Controlling PPE quality and price with strict supply chain management
Strict supply chain management is critical in ensuring effective quality control and products that are sourced from reputable trading partners.
ProChoice Safety Gear’s, Bill Vocisano’s job involves travelling the world, inspecting factories, screening contractors and facilitating independent audits to ensure processes and products are of the highest quality.
He said these sourcing techniques and years of refinement enable ProChoice to provide safety gear without compromise while knowing that the environment and workers throughout the chain are being looked after.
“There are four key things I look for as part of a supplier analysis or inspection: working conditions, environmental management, quality control and consistent price.”
“Eighty to 90 per cent of our vendors have been with us 15-20 years so we have built strong relationships. That’s how we can consistently guarantee high quality at a competitive price.”
However Vocisano said that without regular audits and inspections, some associates may be tempted to cut corners.
“You really need to keep on top of them. The standards would relax if I didn’t perform regular audits. Especially with quality,” he said.
Working conditions are the highest priority for ProChoice Safety Gear, according to Vocisano. Not only from an ethical perspective but also because happy workers will be less likely to cut corners, ensuring quality control.
“I inspect our partner’s factories every year to make sure they’re not old, rundown or have uncontrolled safety hazards. They must be well ventilated, not too hot or cold, have good lighting and supplied uniforms and lunch.”
Vocisano also conducts spot checks at random to ensure factories are not forcing workers into 15-hour days or using child labour.
For manufacturers of products that use chemicals – such as dipped gloves – ProChoice Safety Gear insists that there are water treatment and recycling plants within the factory.
“When the gloves are finished at the end of the line, they are dipped and then cleaned in water. That waste water is then required to go through their treatment plant and recycled so they are not dumping dirty water laden with chemicals into the general waste pipeline,” Vocisano said.
Independently Audited and Quality Control
Vocisano’s inspections and strict contract management are in addition to the requirement of any factory they work with having ISO 9001 Certification, earned from independent auditing of their quality control processes.
“All our certified products are audited annually by SAI Global or BSI Group. This is in addition to regular batch testing and the independent auditing to achieve Certification to Australian Standards of the products themselves, which include safety masks, safety glasses, protective gloves or hard hats.”
These long term relationships have meant that in addition to quality control, ProChoice has secured stable and competitive trading partner pricing.
One recent example is the release of the ProChoice Flat Fold Respiratory Mask (PCFFP2V), which has been through the riggers of Vocisano’s processes and retails at a price point that’s 30 per cent less than the market leader’s equivalent.
“Workers should have access to the best quality PPE available and the best way to make PPE accessible is to make it affordable. That’s why we invest so heavily in sourcing and managing our supply chain channels – to provide competitively priced safety gear without compromising quality,” Vocisano said.