As global supply chains hit the bottleneck amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the gap between supply and demand of personal protective equipment or PPE, medical devices and testing kits is widening at an accelerating rate.
Buyers are racing to find surgical masks, face shields, goggles, gloves, body suits, thermometers, respirators, and laboratory and ICU equipment fast without compromising quality. Suppliers are facing mounting pressure to meet this skyrocketing market demand while dealing with raw material shortages, certifications and rising freight costs.
Disruptions have not only created opportunities for new entrants but also shifted the control typically held by buyers. The usual scenario, according to GlobalFromAsia.com’s Michael Michelini, would have been suppliers bending over to do business. Due to paper work and bureaucracy, however, the middlemen are thriving. Willing to take financial risks, they are the ones connecting suppliers and buyers, making deals on their behalf.
Do factories prioritize importers of masks from the public sector? Between the public and private sectors, government organizations tend to be bound by bureaucracy, making them less attractive to suppliers compared to hospitals and medical distributors, according freight-forwarding company Unicargo’s CEO Refael Elbaz.
How safe are products imported from China?
Mike Michelini of GlobalFromAsia.com says that apart from safety, buyers should also be concerned about the availability – where else are they going to procure the products.Buyers could work with specialists who have the skills in dealing with manufacturers to ensure product safety and quality.
What to know before importing or selling masks
For buyers, compliance certifications and tests are a must. Ash Monga of IMEX Sourcing advises not to skip it and go for experienced suppliers whose products undergo proper testing.
Suppliers, on the other hand, are advised to be more careful when dealing with orders for medical professionals.
Other critical medical supplies
Thermometers and nitrile gloves are hot commodities, as well as goggle s, gowns, medical covers, caps and hand sanitizers. Thermometers typically have a minimum order quantity of 10,000 units, while other medical supplies have lower MOQs.
Opportunities in the medical wear industry are likely to attract more buyers in the near future, especially as businesses are starting to adopt “new normal” practices such as wearing hazmat suits and other protective equipment.
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