With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, sanitation and cleanliness requirements have dramatically changed for food service workers. These workers must wear gloves at all times. They also must put on a fresh pair of gloves much more often than previously.
As a result of this, the monthly global production of disposable gloves has gone from eight billion to more than 30 billion units. This explosive growth has meant big business for Houston-based No Touch Easy Gloves. The Texas company has created a safer and faster way for food service workers to use disposable gloves.
Their gloves can be put on in one-to-two seconds, reducing time waste for food service workers, helping them minimize contact with contaminated surfaces, and reducing the potential transmission of food-borne diseases to their customers and one another.
No Touch’s current success didn’t come without some challenges. The early days were tough, marked by some communication and production challenges.
COMMUNICATION BARRIERS WITH CHINESE FACTORIES
One of No Touch’s early challenges came in trying to find a factory partner in China on their own.
According to No Touch co-founder Brian Dennison: “There were substantial language barriers with Chinese factories which made communication difficult.”
The factories with whom they could communicate, to some extent, couldn’t produce gloves that could fit their specifications. Given this, No Touch decided to have their glove-making machinery built by a manufacturing company in Wisconsin.
DIFFICULTY FINDING THE RIGHT PRODUCTION SOLUTION
To be closer to their Houston headquarters, Dennison and his business partner, Mike Brewer, decided to move the custom machinery to a facility outside of Tyler, Texas. Unfortunately, the humidity differences the sticky Texas climate presented prevented the machinery from working correctly.
At this point, Dennison and Brewer moved the machinery back to Wisconsin to give that solution a second chance. After being reset, the machinery worked well for a while, but after 18 months, No Touch could not get to full production of their disposable gloves due to ongoing production issues.
The co-founders were reaching a frustration point. They decided to walk away from the Wisconsin production deal, paying a few cents on the dollar, and look for a new solution. They were at a crossroads in their company’s history and needed to find a solution to take things to the next level.
In Fall 2019, Dennison and Brewer connected with Gembah.
No Touch started with Gembah by contracting some design services to fine-tune its product offering. The goal, here, was increased production, but also greater ease of use. The protection of intellectual property was the next step. From there, Gembah helped No Touch contract with a factory that had reached out to them previously offering services.
A little ironic, huh? Sometimes irony’s not all bad.
Gembah’s access to Chinese factories, understanding of communication nuances and styles, and diligence made the difference for Dennison and Brewer.
“The difficulty we had with the factories pinging us directly was the significant communication gap” said Dennison. “Attempts at communication just didn’t work. You guys are there in the field.”
Gembah’s ability to broker the process and pick up the pace were vital, according to Dennison.
“Having Gembah in-between the parties to broker the whole process – communication and access is the key. You guys were very diligent, responsive and quick to get things going.”
In partnering with Gembah to move production to China rather than using machinery here in the United States, No Touch’s cost savings have been significant.
According to Dennison: “The reference point is domestic production in the United States compared to China. The savings in production costs is in the 60-70% range.”
Working with Gembah has been an impactful experience for No Touch Easy Gloves, said Dennison: “With the history of our business, there are many things we look at with some level of regret. Working with Gembah is not one of them. Their proposal was straightforward and direct, and we didn’t feel the need to consider any of their competitors.”
The road may have initially been a little bumpy for No Touch, but they’re coming out on top. They’ve had some challenges along the way, but working with Gembah has helped them to find solutions and move forward with momentum.
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