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[Interview] Graham Ayers: Are Cheap Gloves Really Less Expensive?

by Joe Geng on February 15, 2017

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There are 6.1 million Google results for “cheap work gloves,” and another 9 million results for “discount work gloves” and “bulk work gloves.” It makes sense, everyone has a budget that they need to stick to. But are cheap work gloves really less expensive?

We sat down with Superior’s European Sales Manager, Graham Ayers, to discuss the dangers of looking strictly at the bottom line when purchasing safety equipment.

Graham Ayers

Graham condensed his decade-plus experience in the safety industry to three key takeaways, reminding us that it doesn’t matter if the company is looking to buy gloves in Cleveland or Abu Dhabi; the concerns are the same.

using a calculator


1. Check Your Math:

The first step Graham outlines is to look at the numbers:

  • How long are your gloves lasting?
  • How much are you currently paying?
  • How many wash cycles are you getting out of a glove?
  • Are injuries increasing?

If you’re satisfied with these numbers then that’s the end of the conversation and you can get on with your day. But, if any of these numbers are concerning, it’s time to throw out the cheap work gloves.

Inexpensive work gloves may only cost $2 but only last a day, whereas higher-end work gloves may cost $5 but last 5 days. At the end of the week the latter glove is the better deal.

Graham told us that a luxury car manufacturer in Britain “knows that our sleeve costs $1.50 more than the current sleeve but they can also get five launders out of it. That drives their cost down to $2 per pair.”

Checking your math is going to be important for the next step.


2. Examine Your Options:

The old adage ‘if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is’ is as true for work gloves as it is for low-cal desserts or Red Bull giving you wings.

A company that is paying $1.50 for a cut-level 5 glove needs to take a good hard look at it. “You’re not going to buy a glove that can offer that much protection for that price,” Graham said.

Look to reputable glove manufacturers who have been in business for a while. “You get what you paid for,” Graham said. “Look at the manufacturer’s track record and don’t be afraid to ask for the test results… they should be able to provide it within the day.”

At this point, it’s time to open the dialogue up by bringing your findings to the procurement department.

create a dialogue regarding cheap work gloves


3. Create a Dialogue:

While it’s important to look beyond the price tag, it’s also important to bring solutions to the table. When the conversation is about spending more on work gloves, different departments need to come together — at the very least the safety department and the procurement department.

In general, procurement is looking to reduce hard costs — the expenses that are easily quantifiable.

Safety is looking to reduce indirect costs — like an employee injured on a work site.

“At the end of the day, both departments are looking to save money,” said Graham.

This is when both departments need to be shown the math and the documentation that a higher-priced glove will save money in the long run. Once everyone is on the same page, a solution that protects a company’s bottom line and employees can be reached.

By looking at the math, creating a dialogue between departments and examining the options you can make sure that your company is protecting the bottom line while protecting your workers.


Ready for More?

Read how switching gloves saved one of The Big Three automotive companies over $200,000.


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