Building sustainability in sourcing and manufacture across the international textile industry

March 15th, 2021

In April 2020 David Reay was commissioned by a leading NHS account management company to initiate and manage international PPE supply routes


The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK was huge, and the lack of PPE protection in the NHS was alarming. David had been involved in various small-scale initiatives domestically when he was asked to come up with large scale international supply. The established Chinese routes were overwhelmed as the infection swept the world, and the Chinese New Year break followed by six weeks of quarantine closures hampered production lines. It was vital to establish new additional supply chains.

David used a key connection in China to open new lines in the Shanghai region. Challenges including seven day lines of trucks queueing for air freight had to be managed carefully. The country was clearly choked so he also persuaded a trusted large Sri Lankan owned manufacturing business to get involved. This was a first for them, they would need to close the stitching lines down and re-tool to weld seams on isolation gowns. The country was under curfew and lockdown. David and the team were able to overcome restrictions using diplomatic routes via the British cabinet office, British High Commission and the Sri Lankan government to get permission for an initial 1000 operators to attend COVID safe factories. Certifications, sampling and safety standards for the product were quickly established.

The demand surge for air freight was not as extensive as China and large volumes of goods began to flow very quickly. Not only did the company manufacture on time to exact quality standards they calmly developed and enhanced the product further to make it more comfortable for wearing in tough conditions in the hospitals they were destined for. More operators and lines were added systematically and, within a short period of time, the supply chain which David Reay developed were producing 25 million pcs per month and shipping sea freight.

The exercise continued throughout May to December 2020.

Worldwide demand patterns for 2021 are being carefully assessed and striking the correct balance is vital to success. Our team continue to develop more advanced product with a wider appeal.