The importance of PPE kits has never been felt more necessary than in this time of pandemic. Earlier, the use of PPE kit was limited to a very small section of professionals who were involved in serious medical professions.
But since the Covid-19 pandemic has been unleashed on the humanity, importance of Personal Protection Equipment or PPE kits has risen to a new level. Many countries like France, Germany, Italy, United States and India felt the shortage of PPE kit and thus took it as a challenge to manufacture their own kits and the result is that it has been manufacturing enough kits for domestic usage as well as export.
PPE kits include the headgear, the gloves, facemask, Scrub, gowns, apron, pants, tops, surgical masks, and surgical bodywear. PPE kits that were only limited to very professional work like medicine now have expanded its scope during the times of pandemic.
Recently, one has seen however barbers are using PPE kits while trimming hairs of people. Similarly, those involved in handling and taking swab samples of potential Covid-19 patients are also using PPE kits in order to remain safe from the virus.
The government had few months back issued guidelines regarding the use of PPE kits for various purposes. This includes the medical professionals, to people handling passengers, customers, sanitation workers, administrators, ambulance drivers, swab sample collectors, etc.
Now, not all of them need to wear the overall dress of the PPE kit but can wear any of them that is necessary as per the government order. For most of us, a N95 mask or a triple layered mask is sufficient and for some, a mask and gloves is sufficient. Those who are directly dealing with potential Covid-19 patients or other patients may also be required to wear headgear, face mask and shield, shoe cover, gown along with an apron.
Thus, it can be said that in the times of Covid-19 pandemic, it has become essential for almost all of us to wear at least one of the particulars of PPE kit and it can also be concluded that usage of PPE kit is skyrocketing and has huge demand for at least a year or so.
Thus, it can also be concluded that manufacturing and selling of standard PPE kits has tremendous scope for making profit as well as contributing to society in this time of gloomy condition.
PPE Kit Manufacturing Business:
When the pandemic hit India, India was manufacturing zero PPE kits and it had relied solely on imports to fulfil the demand of kits. It has a reserve of 2.75 lakh kits but the situation prevailing at that time demanded huge stock of PPE kits. Then the Ministry of Textile jumped in which led to a fast track formation of units that started manufacturing the kit.
Within a few months, lakhs of PPE kits were being manufactured per day with an aim of delivering 2 crore kits by July end. Just by September, India had started manufacturing more than 4.5 lakh kits on a daily basis. Thus, it can be said that our domestic entrepreneurs and manufacturing units came to rescue when they were needed the most.
It can also be said that the PPE kit market has huge scope and anyone who aims to enter this business can make quick returns within a short span of time.
The PPE Kit Manufacturing Business Plan:
In order to start a PPE manufacturing unit it is obvious that one has to maintain certain standards. The kit needs to satisfy the basic test of quality. Also, there are formalities that are required to be fulfilled in order to start your unit. Here are the steps to go for it.
Registration as PPE Kit Manufacturer:
Since most of the articles that are included in the PPE kit are more or less medical instruments, therefore, manufacturing and selling of such articles require higher standards. Central Drugs Standard Control Organization or the CDSCO controls and regulates manufacturing of such articles and therefore it is mandatory to register for those who are private players.
Within 18 months of registration, the authorities will inspect the quality and standard of products so made and will then certify whether it can be sold in the market or not. The BIS also regulates the standard of products and therefore one needs to apply there as well. Bureau of Indian Standards gives certification for a material to be sold in the market.
One can also refer to the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of textile that is managing the fabric involved in manufacturing these articles. Some fall under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act while others are covered under textile.
Raw Materials required:
It is obvious that anyone who is interested to manufacture PPE kits can select as per their convenience the type of product they want to manufacture. It can be just masks or glass shields or the gown.
Thus, one will have to use raw materials that are required to manufacture such products.
N95 Masks: Melt blown non-woven fabric that is produced by extruding plastic, rubber, silicon and plastic along with thread to stitch it. There is a process involved that first gives shape to the mask and then it is fitted with materials that allow breathing. It also gets tested for security standards. Non-woven polypropylene is the commonly used raw material.
Face Shields: Face shields consist of visor, a glass shield with a metal or so for the frame. Mostly made from glass that is mostly made from plastic polycarbonate, acetate, polyvinyl chloride, propionate and PETG.
Goggles: They are also made from the same set of raw materials used in making face shields. Most commonly used material is polycarbonate.
Gowns: Gowns are made from a variety of raw materials depending upon the use. For critical purposes, standard materials are used to avoid the penetration of viruses. Some of the raw materials are synthetic, polyester, polypropylene, non-woven fabric, polyethylene, etc. Reusable gowns can be made from cotton and synthetic but are not recommended for critical medical operations.
Gloves: Gloves are generally made from rubber, plastics, latex rubber or nitrile, etc. General use gloves are mostly made from rubber and are mostly used in almost all kinds of medical usage.
Place of Manufacturing:
You don’t require much space, a rented area covered with shade made of PVC or Tin can compensate or if you can afford, you can go for a concrete building with basic amenities required to run a manufacturing unit. Some basics are obviously water supply, electricity supply, proper drainage, waste management, proper road connection, security, etc.
It depends on you whether you want to manufacture the basic items in order to give them shape into a PPE kit or you just want to assemble and make final products. The former requires lots of work while the later is quite easy. Thus, this will define the use of machines.
If you are going to manufacture shield glass material on your own, or manufacture the rubber used to manufacture gloves, or the gown material then you will require various machines.
While the second option is to get the semi-processed raw materials and give it a final finish in the form of a PPE kit. It requires limited machinery and manpower.
Many of those who have recently started this business have stated that not much investment is required in starting the business. The government also has given lots of incentives in order to promote such businesses.
The investment can range from 2 lakhs to 50 lakhs or more depending upon the scale of manufacturing and type of product you are manufacturing. It also depends on the additional cost like manpower, place of manufacturing, machines required, and other such expenses like marketing, transportation, etc.
One should consult people who are into this business or can read about them and their experience with regard to this business.
Product Marketing and Market:
It is obvious that you will need a market where you will sell your product. There are promotion councils dealing with PPE kit manufacturing. The government also has initiated promotions related to the same and one can easily get in touch with these groups who will chalk out a market plan for you.
Depending upon the scale of your business, you can choose your market. It can be small towns targeting general masses that require masks or gloves, or you can target professionals who require glass shields, gowns, etc.
Another option is to hire a marketing agency that directly sells your products to the domestic market and retailers. It all depends upon the scale of your manufacturing and your target audience. Most of such things depend upon the financial investment you have made.
The initial stage businessman should obviously target the smaller market in order to capture them. Since there is no bigger brand that has made its place, selling your product is relatively easy as people are not much concerned about the company but the product and its pricing.
Lastly, your PPE kit manufacturing depends upon the scale you have chosen. You can start it with a limited budget, resources, space and manpower and then grow or you can start from a higher pedestal. All depends on you.