MELBOURNE, Australia—Ansell Ltd. has been strengthening its position as a global leader in the personal protective equipment sector during the COVID-19 pandemic.
It has expanded and grown as demand for its hand and body protection goods increased.
At least that's the way Magnus Nicolin, CEO and managing director, views the manufacturer of gloves and protective clothing as it continues to increase capacity to handle the needs of its customers.
Ansell also is looking to partner with qualified non-PPE companies in the U.S. and Canada as part of a program called Network of Heroes that it recently launched. Under the program, the firm said it will share its manufacturing expertise in order to boost the production of protective clothing for first responders and health care workers.
"A number of our products are being used in the fight against COVID-19, particularly our exam and surgical gloves along with chemical protective clothing, which have been tested and certified to recognized standards for protection from infective agents," he said in the firm's annual fiscal 2020 year-end review issued in late August.
Nicolin praised the resourcefulness and dedication of the company's employees, who he said have adapted well to a new working environment and worked hard to get products to customers.
"This is often in the face of significant challenges such as temporary government orders that enforced partial and full shutdowns in manufacturing operations in Malaysia and Sri Lanka in March and April, temporary shutdowns of warehouses as well as reduced freight capacities," he said.
Ansell has implemented strict protocols at the firm's sites globally "to protect our employees, particularly at our manufacturing and distribution facilities," Nicolin said. "I am encouraged that only a small number of our 13,500-strong global work force have tested positive (for the virus) and that they have recovered or are recovering well."
Despite the challenges the company has faced during the last several months, he said Ansell remains committed to investing in its business to support long-term sustainable growth. Ansell expects capital expenditures in 2021 to be between $95 million and $105 million.
Ansell recently increased by more than 40 percent its manufacturing capacity at plants in Xiamen, China, and Colombo, Sri Lanka, as demand for its protective clothing continues to rise.
In addition, it is localizing production at its facilities in Brazil and Lithuania, he said, although he did not provide further details, and officials at Ansell's U.S. offices in Iselin, N.J., did not return requests for additional information.
Ansell also is working to complete an expansion launched in October 2019 at its Lat Krabang, Thailand, plant that will boost manufacturing capacity for single-use gloves by 35 percent, according to Nicolin, who was scheduled to retire this year but has delayed the move until Dec. 31, 2021, because of uncertainties caused by COVID-19.
When its latest expansions are complete, the firm indicated it will focus on more automation to improve efficiencies.