Rheinmetall has been awarded another major order for personal protective equipment for frontline medical staff and care providers. The German federal authorities have contracted with the Düsseldorf-based security and mobility specialist to supply personal protective equipment (PPE) worth around EUR16 million net. Booked in July, the order encompasses respiratory masks of various types as well as protective suits, goggles and gloves.
From the outset of the coronavirus crisis, Rheinmetall has been helping to alleviate shortages of urgently required PPE items. To date, the high-tech Group has supplied government agencies and public authorities with around twenty truckloads of protective equipment, primarily FFP-2 respiratory masks and simpler surgical masks. The Group expects total sales of PPE to reach EUR100 million in 2020.
Thanks to its global reach and presence in over thirty countries, including China, Rheinmetall has a powerful industrial network and ready access to reliable suppliers for products that meet the most stringent medical standards.
“We very much appreciate the trust the German authorities have placed in us in this highly sensitive sector. Our ability to source large quantities of high-quality PPE under enormous time pressure, provide the necessary certification and handle the complex logistics has clearly impressed our public sector customers”, declares Rheinmetall AG chairman Armin Papperger.
With demand for PPE in Germany still high, the German government has now entered into exclusive framework agreement with the Rheinmetall Group, covering the supply of millions of items of medical-grade protective equipment in the coming months. This makes Rheinmetall one of Germany’s principal suppliers of PPE. Worth around EUR16 million net, the current call-off comes under this framework agreement.
Moreover, Rheinmetall is also ready and willing to respond at any time to requirements for smaller amounts of PPE that can suddenly arise due to an unexpected crisis at regional level.
For instance, as recently as June, Rheinmetall was able to react at very short notice to an urgent request from a local government authority in North Rhine-Westphalia, where an upsurge in acute coronavirus cases suddenly resulted in the need for a substantial amount of protective equipment.
It may well be the fastest Rheinmetall order on record. Within hours of receiving a request for proposal, Rheinmetall had produced and submitted a detailed offer. Minutes later, the responsible local government authority issued the order. As a result, hundreds of first responders and other helpers could be equipped with protective clothing and masks at very short notice, assuring that they would not be exposed to unnecessary risks.
As Armin Papperger puts it, “We protect the people who protect all of us. It’s what we do. And this certainly applies equally to personal protective equipment. We’re pleased and proud to be able to be lend a hand here, bringing our effectiveness and efficiency to bear where the need is greatest. Thanks to our highly motivated team, we’re able to
supply PPE products whenever they’re needed – whether it’s in response to a sudden emergency or large-scale deliveries earmarked for a strategic reserve. The feedback from North Rhine-Westphalia on this score has been very positive, by the way. We’re determined to be an efficient partner of the public authorities in this domain, ready to respond at a moment’s notice.”
The challenges involved in sourcing PPE today are considerable. Continued strong demand for products made in China as well as fierce competition for airfreight capacity, questions relating to modes of payment and certification, hazardous transport routes, elaborate import formalities and the need for reliable quality control – the list of problems to be solved and hurdles to be overcome is long. On top of these comes the added challenge of differentiating between legitimate and reliable producers in Asia and elsewhere and those who are incompetent or incapable of honouring their delivery commitments.