How PPE Shortages Brought Together New Allies, New American Jobs and a More Resilient Supply Chain
April 4, 2022
For all the bad things the pandemic brought the world, perhaps one bright side of the story is the stark light it shined on the flaws in the U.S. supply chain. The traditional approach was to source PPE from outside the country—often China—at the lowest price possible, then have it delivered on a “just-in-time” basis. While, this approach worked in normal times, the worldwide pandemic resulted in complete disruption of this fragile chain.
A Truly Broken System
“In a matter of days and weeks, the entire system was disrupted,” said Justin Hollingsworth, CEO of SafeSource Direct, America’s first PPE manufacturer, formed to address this challenge. “We all saw delayed shipments, clogged ports, and overpriced containers, as counterfeit and subpar PPE was seized and the overseas use of forced labor exposed. Healthcare providers across the country saw firsthand that the traditional approach is severely flawed and lacking in resiliency.”
Without domestic options, providers were forced to stockpile up to a year’s worth of inventory, tying up cash, adding expense and incurring obsolescence risk. The net effect was to actually create a less efficient PPE supply chain.
Coming Together to Find a Better Way
In 2021, Ochsner Health and Trax Development came together to form Safe Source Direct. Ochsner brought nationally recognized quality (#1 Hospital and #1 Children’s Hospital in Louisiana, U.S. News & World Report) and supply chain expertise (#3 Healthcare Supply Chain in U.S., Gartner) and Trax brought a long history of manufacturing experience. The company is involved with build to suits, specializing in the automotive industry, manufacturing, warehousing, and distribution. Leveraging this unique combination of experience, the vision for SafeSource Direct was to create a PPE supply chain that improves resilience, reduces risk, guarantees access with flex capacity and increases fulfillment speed -- at competitive pricing.
Resiliency, Really Fast
Today, that vision is reality, not only ensuring a more secure supply chain for our nation’s health providers, but bringing much needed jobs to the U.S. SafeSource Direct products include nitrile gloves, Level 1 and Level 3 ear loop and surgical tie masks, surgical gowns, non-sterile gowns bouffant head covers, shoe covers, and soon, N-95 respirators. Beyond producing this PPE in the U.S., it is also producing the raw materials needed for manufacturing to ensure a domestic supply is always available.
In addition to significant investments in its two manufacturing sites in Louisiana, SafeSource Direct is creating a combined 1,221 new jobs, resulting in an estimated 992 indirect jobs. PPE is being manufactured at its two plants in Broussard, Louisiana comprising nearly 700,000 square feet.
Healthier Economies, Safer Workers for the Future
The impacts of SafeSource Direct and its American manufactured PPE are being recognized even beyond the healthcare industry. Recently, SafeSource was honored for its community impact by Trade & Industry Development magazine as part of its 16th annual CICI Awards.
“The success of a community is directly linked to the employers that make that community a home. The location of a new facility or the expansion of an existing one can have a profoundly positive effect on a community,” the award announcement read.
“We’re honored to be recognized for bringing new jobs and new opportunities back home to the U.S.,” said Hollingsworth. “But what makes us even more proud is the fact we’re making a real difference for our health providers and the patients and families they serve across the entire U.S. and the world.”
SafeSource Direct—America’s trusted PPE Maker.