CHARLOTTE, N.C.—Honeywell International Inc. and Premier Inc. are teaming up in the U.S. to expand the domestic production and supply of nitrile examination gloves to hospitals, clinics and other health care providers.
While the complete details on the manufacturing part of the collaboration are sketchy at this point, a Honeywell spokesman indicated that the current plan will include the addition of a new U.S. nitrile glove production facility and personnel for the company.
He said that "with the partnership, we will be working to establish new operations here in the U.S., with production of these new gloves starting in mid-2022. We do anticipate this new domestic operation will require more people to staff the production."
Honeywell did not previously make nitrile gloves in the U.S.
Honeywell's spokesman said that members of Premier's network "have committed to purchasing a percentage of (the Honeywell produced) gloves for a five-year period. This long-term commitment from U.S. health care companies enables us to invest in domestic production, helping to strengthen the personal protection equipment supply chain."
Premier is a technology driven health care improvement company with an alliance of more than 4,100 U.S. hospitals and health systems and about 200,000 other providers and organizations in its network and will handle distribution of the gloves, according to Colin Bain, Premier's president of direct sourcing for S2S (Source to Specification) Global, a wholly owned subsidiary of the company.
For more than a decade, the firm has focused on direct sourcing, working with manufacturers worldwide to produce high quality products, including those in short supply.
Further details on Charlotte-headquartered Honeywell's nitrile glove manufacturing plans are expected to be released later this summer, the Honeywell spokesman said.
During the first year of the collaboration between the two firms, they expect to produce and supply at least 750 million domestically manufactured nitrile gloves, Bain said. "Distribution of the gloves is likely to start in June of next year, but it could start sooner."
"We work in collaboration with our heath care members and we scour the globe for the best match, and in this care it's Honeywell," he said. "Throughout the pandemic we've been able to step up and fill customers' needs."
Premier, which is also based in Charlotte, and Honeywell said they expect the collaboration to expand access to U.S.-manufactured examination gloves to the country's hospitals, clinics and health care providers. More than 80 participating Premier member health systems have committed to purchase a certain percentage of the Honeywell gloves for a period of five years, Bain said.
Honeywell said it also will provide additional gloves to S2S Global, enabling the sale of domestically manufactured gloves to other health systems and hospitals across the U.S.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, demand for the gloves continuously outpaced supply by nearly 40 percent, the two companies said in a press release. They cited worldwide raw material scarcity, port closures and other delays, along with increased glove usage because of higher hospitalization rates and vaccination efforts, as the prime reasons for the shortages.
Because of that, Premier member hospitals reported shortages of exam gloves as one of their product-related challenges to take care of patients, with many implementing glove conservation practices and other precautionary measures to protect the supply of gloves, the two firms said.
Bain said the collaboration with Honeywell "assures our members that if something happens we can meet their needs domestically."
Honeywell makes a variety of products for a number of industries, including aerospace, buildings and industry, and personnel protection.
On the personnel protection equipment side, it designs and manufactures head-to-toe safety goods for workers. Its broad portfolio of PPE offerings for hospitals and health care workers includes respiratory protection products and face shields along with numerous other goods aimed at aiding patients and improving the performance of critical medical equipment.
"Honeywell and Premier share a commitment to increase the domestic production capacity for safety solutions to help to protect American health care workers," Praveen Reddy, president of Honeywell's PPE business, said in the press release.
He noted that the company's N95 respirators "are protecting millions of health care workers, and now we're bringing our technical and supply chain management expertise to support another category of essential PPE."
Honeywell and Premier also are collaborating to expand access to Honeywell's broad line of other PPE products to the members of Premier's network, they said.
For more than a decade, Premier has focused on direct sourcing, working with manufacturers worldwide to produce high quality products, including those in short supply, according to Bain. "We primarily serve the U.S. … and partnering with Honeywell will expand our reach."
Premier's collaboration with Honeywell "is another step forward in Premier's steadfast commitment to protect health care providers from shortages, drive supply chain innovation and increase domestic manufacturing of critical products," Michael J. Alkire, president and CEO of Premier, said in the press release.
"Throughout the pandemic," he added, "our members stepped up to make strategic investments and purchasing commitments, changing the way we source critical products and improving the reliability of supply for employees and patients."