What’s behind the worldwide glove shortage in May 2020

Because of our relationship with www.NextDayScience.com we have insights from major manufacturers on news related to COVID-19. This is a slightly redacted version of a newsletter announcement from a top manufacturer in the USA explaining the recent breakdown in the supply chain of gloves for the healthcare industry.

We hope that you and yours are safe and well. As we continue to monitor and manage information about the COVID-19 pandemic, we would like to provide an update regarding our capacity during this time of short supply of gloves and growing demand. We continue to receive increased orders while struggling to catch up with existing orders and seeing our costs rise.

Here is some background information regarding the shortage and increasing production costs:

  • Due to EPA restrictions in China, we recently converted production lines from coal to steam and natural gas creating a loss of 2.5 months capacity.
  • The Chinese New Year shutdown followed by the COVID-19-related shutdown also caused 1.5 months loss of capacity.
  • Our labor is currently restricted due to additional safety compliance and social distancing measures within our factories.
  • Nitrile is now in tight supply with additional production capacity expected to take 6 to 18 months.
  • Our production costs have increased by 14% due to these changes in material and labor costs.
  • There are rumors that China is retaining 15% of PPE capacity for in-country use, but we have not had this issue.

Here is how we are addressing these issues:

  • To accelerate production during this time of high demand, we have temporarily prioritized our manufacturing facilities to deliver our six most popular nitrile single-use styles
  • Our team will help you with a migration path to replace your current portfolio with the temporarily reduced one.
  • Your sales representative will work with you to substitute available gloves or cancel back orders that cannot be filled within the next 90 days.
  • We have recommended that single-use nitrile and latex gloves should be reserved for frontline mission-critical workers and replaced with Thermoplastic Extruded (TPE) or vinyl gloves as alternatives for the general population.
  • We are adding TPE gloves to our portfolio beginning in July.
  • We are increasing our prices on nitrile and latex single-use gloves by 14% beginning June 1.
  • Our chemical and mechanical protection glove prices currently remain unchanged.

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