Supply Chain Issues Persist, but Glove Market’s Outlook Is Bright

Containers stack up in port awaiting distribution.

If you thought that 2022 would bring quick resolution to the worldwide supply chain disruption, you’ll want to rethink that position.

Havoc at ports is showing no signs of declining. Prices for a vast array of goods continue to rise. Any real progress will require investment, technology and a refashioning of incentives across global business. It will take more ships, additional warehouses, and an influx of truck drivers.

The Biden administration expects the global semiconductor shortage to persist until at least the second half of this year, promising long-term strain on myriad U.S. businesses.

It may not be quite that dire for the disposable glove market, but don’t expect the year to be without its share of obstacles, says Corey Townsell, AMMEX’s vice president of sales.

A lingering pandemic

“As far as bottlenecks in the supply chain, I think there will be challenges with that through 2022,” he says. “We already know that the first half of 2022 is going to be similar to the back half of 2021. The supply chain issues are going to still be there.

“COVID is not going away, so you’re going to deal with some labor shortages and other pinch points that cause delays. There just aren’t enough drivers right now to pick stuff up.”

The coronavirus remains a concern, mainly because no one can predict what lies ahead. Transmission rates may be dropping slightly, indicating that the surge spawned by the Omicron variant is flattening. But there is considerable debate as to whether future surges are still to emerge.

Scientists generally say it’s too early to declare an “endgame” for COVID-19. Others warn that Omicron’s whirlwind advance practically ensures it won’t be the last version of the coronavirus to worry the world.

The balance can be precarious

It doesn’t take much for a major blockage to appear in the supply chain, Townsell says.

“If one employee, two employees in a Southeast Asia glove manufacturing facility end up getting COVID, that could shut the whole operation down for two or three weeks,” he says.

The good news for glove distributors? AMMEX is in a great position in terms of inventory on hand and more on the way. When it comes to Gloveworks industrial nitrile gloves with Raised Diamond Texture (RDT), we are well stocked with all four varieties: 8-mil in orange and green, as well as 6-mil in black and royal blue.

Enough texture for everybody

“We’ve got more raised diamond texture inventory that we’ve had in the history of AMMEX,” Townsell says. “It’s going to put our distributor partners in a really great position to increase market share with a product group that’s super sticky. It’s hard to get people out of it, and that’s what you want.”

There may be bumps along the way in 2022, but it should be a vastly improved environment for selling disposable gloves.

“I think it will be a booming year,” he says. “It’s just a matter of getting it out there and getting end-users used to our product again. It’s going to take a little time to spool it back up, but once we get the flywheel rolling again, it’s going to be a good thing.”

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