Safety products supplier Bramhope Safety Solutions has registered a 90% business increase in the past year and expects another exponential increase, with the expansion of its retail footprint from seven to about 800 shops by the middle of next year, Bramhope CEO Isak Marais tells Engineering News.
“Bramhope Safety Solutions will supply a significant array of work apparel, personal protective equipment (PPE) solutions and supply chain management solutions to national and industrial retail groups,” he says.
The company currently supplies its products and solutions mainly to the construction, petrochemicals and automotive industries.
These new contracts will also enable the company to increase product supply in Namibia and Botswana, Marais says, adding that the company is currently in talks with a large industrial company, with a staff complement of more than 20 000, for a contract involving PPE product supply and management.
Bramhope, together with developing partners, services about 18 countries, including countries in East Africa, West Africa and Southern African. Marais says the company is assisting smaller entrepreneurs with some of the larger, upcoming projects.
Bramhope launched the Italian-manufactured Univet range of protective eye equipment in Southern Africa in August this year and is also the sole distributor of the eyewear.
Univet specialises in the design and manufacture of magnification systems and in industrial, medical and laser safety eyewear.
The company developed three special coatings that can be applied to the lenses of the eyewear, including the Univet double coating, the anti-fog-plus coating to prevent condensation formation and the anti-scratch-plus coating. Other range features include four new lenses for enhanced eye protection.
While Marais notes that industry remains focused on PPE pricing, he emphasises that understanding the total cost of ownership of PPE remains a key industry challenge.
He reiterates that, owing to current legislation changes in the Mine Health and Safety Act, as well as changes in the Construction Act and the complexity of PPE management, more companies are relying on Bramhope’s PPE solutions.
“There is a definite demand increase for the entire PPE management solution and not just product supply,” he says.
Bramhope’s cloud-based solution includes the development and implementation of the PPE profile and the PPE policy that dictates the required safety standards for workwear and equipment. It also includes sourcing on a global scale, managing PPE in various locations worldwide, total cost of ownership and a risk reduction system, he emphasises.
“While most companies buy at the right price, the management of and control over the items in the supply chain can become a challenge,” Marais says.
However, if the total cost of ownership is managed properly, companies can, in certain cases, achieve a cost savings of up to 60%, he stresses.
Bramhope also assists through its inventory solutions, such as the vendor-managed inventory, and category management, whereby the company manages products on behalf of clients. This includes planning, forecasting, procurement and management, which ensure that the safety products comply with local and international safety standards.
The company is assisting local suppliers in obtaining the required approvals, compliance and certifications based on international standards, such as European Standards (EN) and International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) certification, Marais says.
Marais notes an increasing number of ISO-certified and more advanced technical products, such as work apparel, are being introduced to the market.
In addition, the concept of multi-norms, which entails multiple levels of engineered protection, is increasingly being applied to workwear, Marais says. These levels include fire-retardant features and chemical resistance, as well as antistatic, reflective and waterproof features. Subsequently, more features are built into a single product, he explains.
Marais point out that raw materials, such as leather, are also becoming a scarcer commodity for gloves and that synthetic fibres, including polymers and materials, such as Kevlar, are increasingly being used instead.
Similar changes can be noted for protective eyewear, he says, highlighting that the new standards are shifting from the American National Standards Institute standards to the ISO standards, while marking codes have also been introduced for eye protection.
“Consequently, PPE is increasingly moving to a fit-for-purpose concept,” he highlights.
Moreover, the regionalised standards, which are South African Bureau of Standards and South African National Standards certified and based on EN standards, will shift towards being more in line with the global ISO standards in the next five to six years, Marais believes, concluding that these standards will provide an enhanced benchmarking opportunity.