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4 practical tips that will save you time buying PPE

Good and appropriate safety equipment is very important. You want employees to be optimally protected during work, so that they can return home safe and sound in the evening. However, the purchasing process takes a lot of time. Do you want to get through that process quicker and easier? No problem!

In most companies, the process of purchasing raw materials and/or trade goods has been fully established.

The purchasing process of PPE, on the other hand, is often something that is given too little attention. Unfortunately, far too little. There are various reasons for this:

PPE is a discipline in its own right, and the more you learn about it, the more complex it becomes. The products must meet certain standards. And, as a buyer, you also need to find out which products are suitable for specific working conditions and risks. Moreover, your employees will also have opinions on comfort and design.

Because of their individual characters, different people want to have a say about the selected products: the prevention advisor, the committee for protection and prevention of accidents at work, the warehouse manager, trade unions, and, of course - the employees.

Moreover, you could think that it is not worth optimising, as the numbers and budgets are not large enough. But, as we all know, safety is a must.

Speed up and optimise matters: four practical tips

So there are many aspects and personal preferences around PPE that you need to take into account. Before you know it, the catalogues are piled high on your desk and you can't see the wood for the trees.

Fortunately, there is a way to optimise the purchasing process.

This entails less administrative hassle, and will save you a lot of time. Here are four handy tips to help you organise the purchase of safety equipment:

#1: Build a good foundation

Start by spending time putting together the right products. This only needs to be done once.

Identify all risks and tasks, and make a note of which materials are required for each. Next, lay out the jobs and the materials used alongside each other, and look for similarities, until you have narrowed down the portfolio for the required personal protection equipment as far as possible.

Then, select two alternatives for each material. Have all these products tested by employees.

Next, make a list of approved products and preferred products per task. You can always consult the list when you need to order safety products.

Don't forget to add the alternative products to the list. Does the supplier not have a product in stock? In which case, you always have an approved alternative as a backup.

#2: Automate the process

Would you like to spend up to 35% less on administrative costs, and up to 25% less of your time?

Then don't order via e-mail or fax, but link your ERP package to that of your supplier via EDI (Electronic Data Interchange).

EDI is a collective term for the electronic exchange of documents, such as orders, order confirmations and invoices. There are various platforms for this (including Basware, Descartes, Elemica and Tungsten). Besides saving time and costs, ordering via EDI also means a lower margin of error for deliveries and invoices.

Furthermore, within seconds, you will receive an order confirmation and the delivery time.

Also useful: the stock is reordered without any manual intervention, so your administrative burden is reduced.

#3: Let your employees order what they need

More and more companies are allowing employees to order their own personal protective equipment online. They know what they prefer to wear and what is and is not suitable for their working conditions.

Give your employees access to the approved products (tip 1) on your supplier's website or order platform. Draw up rules, and decide for yourself what budgets they may not exceed.

Our order platform for example even links a cost centre to orders automatically. The financial department then immediately receives the correct invoice. That saves a lot of administration!

#4: Use a distribution solution

Via distribution solutions, such as vending machines, your employees always have access to the available safety equipment.

Everything is done automatically... It even dispenses with the need to create purchase orders.

As soon as a product's stock is low, a new order is automatically created and loaded into the vending machine. This is much more convenient, both for employees and for you.

Naturally, as a buyer, you can always track the availability and consumption of the products.

Bonus tip: Satisfied employees

If you can ensure that all safety equipment is available and ready to use on time, your employee satisfaction is guaranteed.

Moreover, it will save you a lot of time and allow you to work more efficiently.

Win/win for everyone!


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