Supply chain champions
This is a special feature from PAX International's May Amenities & Comfort 2020 digital edition.
As COVID-19 continues to affect nearly every sector of the hospitality and travel industry, amenity suppliers are thinking fast and switching gears to help fight the global outbreak of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. From creating personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline healthcare workers to PPE-themed passenger amenity kits for when the industry eventually takes to the skies again, these fearless suppliers are innovating in the face of unprecedented circumstances.
Up until the surge of the pandemic, sanitary equipment was a small part of Kaelis’ product range. But, following the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendation to wear masks and the global PPE shortage, the supplier has seen a sharp increase in the demand for the products.
“Kaelis has the knowledge, structure, network and technology platform to handle the supply of personal protective equipment in an agile and reliable way that is so needed now,” says Federico Heitz, Chief Executive Officer at Kaelis. “This is the reason we decided to dedicate our powerful supply-chain management capabilities to fight against COVID-19, not only for our customers but also for any company or government institution that might need it globally.”
The supplier is currently donating its full resources built in the last 23 years to produce personal protective equipment, including masks, goggles, gloves, sanitizing gels and wipes and protective gear.
For other companies who want to get involved in similar virus relief efforts, Heitz stresses the need for a strong and reliable supply chain. Logistics technicalities and the lack of air cargo options at are two the biggest challenges of the moment. For example, Kaelis’ execution from development to delivery for its PPE happened in an efficient 10 days Heitz tells PAX, including developing the PPE product catalog, going to market, confirming contracts, manufacturing and airlifting, receiving customs clearance and delivering PPE where needed.
To help facilitate the supply chain process, Kaelis launched the PPE Platform. In the platform, customers can place, pay and track orders online. The company has also contributed to the fight against the pandemic by donating 20,000 blankets to several Spanish hospitals, shelters and the Red Cross. It has also revealed the Self-Protective Pocket Pouch for passengers that includes a mask, gloves, hand sanitizer and alcohol wipes. Customers can request to include more products from Kaelis’ range of PPE in the kit.
Albéa Travel Designer
For French supplier Albéa Travel Designer, COVID-19 has been an invitation to reinvent itself by adapting to the new needs of passengers. The supplier offers personal protective gear in a kit or independently: masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, wipes and hand cream among other items. The company used its network of suppliers and local teams to secure the items. For kits, Albéa Travel Designer proposes a selection of pouches that can be customized to reflect a brand.
Its parent group, Albéa, refocused its factories to produce more pumps and tubes, collaborating with cosmetic customers in order to provide more hand sanitizer to the market.
“Planning our company’s path is the only way to survive in such a competitive market,” says Maxime Ridoux, Business Development & Partnerships Manager at Albéa Travel Designer. “It has helped us refocus our priorities. Despite this unprecedented context, it has brought solidarity and collaboration.”
To support the increase in demand for onboard cabin sanitization and cleanliness, Galileo Watermark has developed a range of masks, gloves, alcohol wipes, hand sanitizing wipes and more.
“We believe these items will be required not just in the short term but longer term, says Johaness Kloess, Managing Director at Galileo Watermark. “Whilst amenity kits are an important part of the onboard experience, they may look different when flying resumes and so it’s important we respond to the changes and adapt to the current circumstances.”
Kloess adds, “That situation has definitely forced us to take stock of the industry and consider what we could do differently in future and how we can better support our customers in this rapidly evolving environment.”
FORMIA has shifted its supply chain solutions for airline customers to overcome any production challenges and meet requirements during the pandemic to support and protect passengers. It has developed a flexible setup with supply partners so that production, locations and timing can be shifted where necessary.
The supplier has developed a range of PPE and sanitizer products to support passenger health, wellbeing and hygiene through the journey. The new range is designed to offer a choice from airline branded to trusted brands to provide a flexible solution for each airline’s passenger requirements.
The company has also taken special precautions to keep its employees protected as they work to support their customers.
“The health and safety of our staff is paramount, and FORMIA has taken measures to support our employees, including providing face masks and hand sanitizers for all staff, daily temperature checks, private transportation and increased social distancing measures in all areas of our office,” says Niklas Sandor, Chief Marketing Officer. “We have invested in new equipment including laptops and phones for all our staff, to support the working from home requirements.”
French supplier Bayart Innovations established its response to the pandemic by supporting both its local community and the global community it works with.
“Locally, we imported masks for firefighters and we offered masks to airlines,” says Chief Executive Officer Albert Facques. “We are part of the same community and together we can act. The Bayart Innovations team adapts, even from a distance, to remain connected in good communication to meet our customers needs efficiently,” he adds.
Buzz is diverting efforts to providing urgently needed hygiene products. The company can supply a range of protective products including hand sanitizer gels and towelettes, face masks, gowns, goggles, the Microbe-Barrier® range of textiles and children’s products.
“With our experience in supplying some of the world’s biggest airlines, we have the manufacturing and supply chain processes to adhere to the strictest global quality standards and produce at a scale need at this time,” says Simon Yaffe, Director of Client Relationship at Buzz.
With a production factory based on home soil in St. Petersburg, Russia, AK-Service was able to quickly begin producing masks, sanitizers, gowns and other products to protect against the virus. The company has expanded its supply horizon beyond aviation to include any market that needs personal protective equipment.
“It is time for all of us to come together even when the situation tears us apart,” says Nadia Trofimchuk, Business Development Director at AK-Service. “We believe that crises broadens ideas and helps us focus on what is really important and to see new opportunities that we did not notice before.”
AK-Service most recently launched a door mat with shoe disinfectant to help keep businesses virus-free. The mat is recyclable at the supplier’s facilities after use.
UK-based packaging company WK Thomas has responded to a call from the country’s National Health Service (NHS) for pre-packed cutlery kits, which the supplier has been assembling primarily for use on aircraft for more than 80 years. The pre-packed cutlery is sent to NHS sites across the UK and Scotland, including the recently opened Nightingale Hospital in ExCel London.
“We were in a fortunate position where we could quickly pull together all the necessary components and get these new packs delivered to where they are needed most,” Managing Director of WK Thomas Alex Noake tells PAX International. “I am extremely proud of the way the team at WK Thomas has reacted to this pandemic. We are blessed to have a resilient, motivated, committed and adaptable team. We are committed to doing whatever we can to help aid the fight against COVID-19 and as part of a key supplier network, we are continuing to remain operational providing essential products to key workers.”
During this unprecedented time, Noake says, it’s important to find the appropriate balance between remaining flexible, offering help wherever possible and maintaining safe processes within the business.
“Although the landscape is rapidly evolving, it is important we are there for our customers and can react to their requirements through this period of recovery, whilst working together to prepare for the future,” Noake says.
En Route International
Onboard food and service solutions provider En Route International has partnered with a number of organizations, charities and social enterprises to support frontline healthcare works and vulnerable communities across the United Kingdom. The company’s ambient meals provide a quick and practical solution in a number of settings with space and time constraints. The products do not need to be refrigerated, have a long shelf life and can be eaten quickly, conducive to a busy schedule and shift work. En Route is also donating cheese, bread and other snacks to help support those who need it.
“As a food business, we understand the role we can play in helping the national effort to tackle the issue facing communities during this COVID-19 lockdown,” Hamish Cook, En Route Executive Director, tells PAX.
“There is no doubt that our sector is facing an unbelievably challenging period but new ideas often stem from adversity so it’s time to really challenge our thinking and help drive positive change wherever we can,” Cook says.