Coronavirus Special

fulfil orders specifically for the NHS and key worker uniforms. Warehouse teams were reduced to a few numbers, while following Government guidelines and recommendations on safe working practices.

For garment decorators themselves, the lockdown measures implemented by the Government has meant loss of business, left, right and centre. The cancellation of mass gatherings such as music gigs, sporting events and charity fundraisers meant promowear was no longer a requirement. This meant overnight that T shirts no longer needed printing, causing a slowdown in orders, triggering a knock- on effect further down the supply chain.

Finding new ways of working At the time of writing some garment decorators were beginning to find new ways of creating work, whether that’s printing and embroidering garments directly for the NHS and other key workers, or producing garments for various fundraising initiatives. While this has raised eyebrows for some about businesses profiteering from COVID-19 and NHS fundraising, in these uncertain times who can blame anyone for trying to survive and make money however possible? While we try to navigate through these uncharted waters, the message coming through loud and clear on social media is that the industry is trying to operate as normal, with staff working from home where possible and additional hygiene and social distancing measures being implemented. Ralf Oster, CEO of PF Concept, said in a statement that PF Concept’s priority is to

ensure the safety and health of colleagues and customers, as well as the continuity of operations. A message echoed throughout the garment decoration industry. Account managers have been asked to stop visiting their customers and working from home has become the new norm in order to limit numbers in offices. This is not just unique to PF Concept, but measures that have been implemented by suppliers, manufacturers and distributors alike.

Mr Oster continued: “This crisis may be also the right moment to accelerate the transition towards new channels of communication.”

This is most definitely true. You’ll soon discover new ways of contacting your suppliers, whether that’s through social media, video calls or online chats. This message was repeated by Roland DG, which looked to assure Roland partners in a statement that the Roland team of experts are on hand and ready to engage with the community through social media or online during this challenging time. The statement continued with a positive outlook: “As businesses begin to rebuild following these unprecedented and unpredictable times, Roland DG will continue to invigorate the world of digital print with initiatives and products. We will help our customers to maximise the potential of their existing technology and give honest advice on complementary systems that may help them succeed in new markets in the future. “It’s essential that we stay connected during this period. Reach out to Roland with any questions, needs or just to say hello.”

Mr Oster continued to stress that PF Concept’s factories were operating as normal to process orders, as many are trying to do. “We are doing everything we can to keep our factories running. Developments go quick, so we assess day-by-day the situation.”

Stanley/Stella is another company that is keen to keep the supply chain functioning. The brand has committed to honouring all orders with its five partner factories in Bangladesh at a time when many in the fashion industry appear to be cancelling orders, leaving factories and local garment workers in a precarious position. Jean Chabert, managing director of Stanley/Stella, said: “We have not, and will not, cancel any open orders to our partner factories in Bangladesh. Stanley/Stella is strongly committed to this country and its people, and have been since the beginning in 2011. We have no intention of leaving, and every intention of supporting the factories and all their dependent garment workers to get back on their feet once this crisis passes and will continue to work hard to improve working conditions and ensure fair remuneration.”

While Stanley/Stella has taken this path during the crisis, other manufacturers have switched their production to help with the global crisis. Fruit of the Loom is one such business. The company said in a statement that during this unprecedented time, that the Fruit of Loom family of brands will convert production to create an essential item that is in great need today – protective masks.

The statement continued: “Personal protective equipment is desperately needed by the healthcare professionals on

in global fight against COVID-19

most stretched. It will also be targeting hospitals in Italy, Bulgaria and the UK. The packs contain essential hygiene products to keep healthcare workers safe throughout the day. ● Over in Germany, Brother employees have started producing

A Brother employee with a face mask he has just finished sewing

fabric face masks. The staff at the headquarters in Emmerich will produce as many masks as possible before passing them on to social institutions free of charge. ● Golden Finishes has seen high demand of its printed armbands for the Ambulance Services, Police and Health Services. These are manufactured at the company’s facility in Caerphilly. ● Grahame Gardner and Behrens have seen an increased demand for their medical scrubs, while companies such as Tibard and First Corporate Clothing, not known for producing medical uniforms, have now started to manufacture scrubs for the NHS here in the UK. ● Resolute DTG has manufactured hand sanitiser in its UK ink lab to add to customers’ consumables orders. There are many more examples of stories like this across the industry, you don’t have to look far to find them. Many companies are selflessly helping

The plastic face mask strap developed by PF Concept in just one week

those in need in this unprecedented global fight against coronavirus. Afterall, we are all in this together.

May 2020 |21 |

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