Scott Corriveau from Ansell discusses their new Worker Experience Innovation
In this podcast, President and GM of Ansell’s Global Industrial Business Unit joins us to talk abut their new Worker Experience Innovation program and what’s missing in the personal protective equipment world.
Brandon: Welcome to the Creative Safety Supply Podcast, visit our website at creativesafetysupply.com and click on the blog link.
Brandon: Hello everyone and welcome to the creative safety supply podcast. I am Brandon Nys and with me today is, as usual, Kyle Holland. Today we are going to be talking about personal protective equipment. In a bit we’re going to be talking to Scott Corveu from Ansell, who has some exciting new PPE technology. But first, Kyle, what is PPE and why do we need it?
Kyle: well, hazards exist everywhere in the workplace, Brandon, in different forms. Sharp edges, flying sparks, chemicals, falling objects, these are a few — just a potential causes of injuries in the workplace.
Brandon: so obviously OSHA is responsible for making sure that every employee in every workplace is safe. From them, what do they usually recommend as far as companies keeping their employees safe?
Kyle: in most situations OSHA’s going to recommend that you separate the hazard from the employee, and they want to put barriers up in between that. But we all know that’s not possible in every situation, and every moment in the workplace.
Brandon: so, personal protective equipment, or PPE, these are going to be things like gloves, hats, face shields. Basically anything in the workplace that’s going to keep these people safe. PPE is obviously worn to minimize exposure to these unexpected various hazards that exist in the workplace. OSHA set out some figures on what they estimate — as far as PPE injuries go, and they estimated something like 320,000 hand and finger injuries that happen every year?
Kyle: yeah, it’s one of the most common injuries in the workplace. PPE is your last line of defense, it’s not going to prevent all injuries, but it can reduce these numbers significantly if they’re worn correctly and they’re used properly in the workplace.
Brandon: so obviously there is going to be good PPE, and there is going to be bad PPE. When it comes to your hands, why would you want to skimp out on that? You use them every single day for things as minimal as hitting the snooze button in the morning, to driving your car to — whatever it is, your hands are extremely important. That is one reason why we brought in Scott Corveu today from Ansell. They are a world-leader in hand protection, you look at their lineup and it is, far and above, the highest quality personal protective equipment that anybody has produced, and here at creative safety supplies we are on board with any company who wants to make sure their product is industry leading, and is ultimately geared toward keeping their employees safe. So, we’re really excited to have him here with us on the program.
Kyle: yeah, I’m excited to hear what Scott has to say, let’s bring him in and hear what he has got to say about this new program they’ve got going’.
Brandon: so for everyone listening, Scott Corveu is the president and general manager of the global industrial business unit at Ansell. Scott, thank you for being with us today.
Scott Corveu: Thank you. Good to be here.
Brandon: so, Scott, tell us a little bit about yourself and how you ended up with Ansell.
Scott Corveu: Well I have about twenty-five years of experience, mostly with consumer package companies, you know really started out early in my career in sales, which really grounded me in understanding the customer and user perspective. Worked my way through two really best in class CPG companies, into just about every sales and marketing role that you can think of, and then at one point my career I decided to be an entrepreneur, get a start-up. Which was a really interesting experience, and really taught me what it was truly like to run a business. If you’re raising equity and you’re raising capital and you’re doing just about everything, it’s a different model than people have a chance to experience. I came to Ansell after the prior coo that was with the company was my super-visor at a company called Cadbury Schlepps, a very global consumer package company, and been with Ansell for nine years now. Started out really a global business development, as a chief strategy officer for the company, took over global marketing and strategy and business development, which included m&a work, and when your new CEO Magnus Nicolin joined us, we re-structured our company around global business units, with the idea of really expanding and driving more innovation into our businesses around the world, and really leveraging our global footprint in a much more efficient way. I became president of what’s defined as a “specialty markets group” which is really all the new and underdeveloped channels and verticals that Ansell is not well developed in, and was only in that role for about fourteen months when I became president of the now industrial global business unit, which is Ansell largest business unit, generates about 60% of the total company’s profits, and does about forty percent of the total company’s revenues. So, based here in your Europe where I run the global business unit, been here two years — actually this month —and we’ve really re-engineered our thinking to really focus on the end-user, focus on technology, and put product leadership as the central focus for us. That’s why you see our users and safety people around the world will see us introduce a number of new innovations, grounded in new technology that we’ve been working on for the last few year/eighteen months in some cases, and each of them are driven by these big — what I call big unmet user needs around comfort, performance, and protection.
Brandon: now, Scott, we did a little bit of research and Ansell is pretty rich in history as far as safety. I mean, Ansell is rooted all the way back to Dunlap Tire Company back in 1888.
Scott Corveu: That’s right, Erik Ansell founded the company where we have Australian roots. We are grounded in protection in everything we do across three businesses, primary businesses if you will, sexual wellness is part of the profile. We’re really grounded in the industrial worker — industrial safety, and then of course we’ve got a medical business. So when we look at our product portfolio it’s really all about protecting people every day in their working lives. And has been for, for, as you know, over a hundred years.
Brandon: So, looking over the product lineup from Ansell, especially with regard to the industrial environment, you guys are pretty industry leading. The technology really beats out the competition especially now, with your worker experience innovation platform, this is actually a pretty exciting thing that you guys have going on here, can you tell us a little bit about it?
Scott Corveu: Yeah, worker experience innovation is really all about us taking user needs and translating those into what we define as either comfort, protection, or performance in our gloves. You know we’ve had a history and a legacy of innovation, and this is just another way for us to take it to the next step and provide those kind of insights. Supported by our core brands, hi-flex, allntek, and touch and tough. These are global leaders in their category, hi flex is a leading global brand of just about 200 million dollars in sales, and it’s worn by workers all around the world every single day. So we’ve been able to take those insights — we’re often copied by our competitors, in terms of how they go to market. In some cases they use us as their R&D platform, as opposed to investing in their own R&D, and we’ve tried to insulate ourselves better with these new technologies that are really the foundation of everything we’re going to be doing going forward.
Brandon: So, from what I’ve read about the worker experience innovation, from what you’ve said so far, basically what I’m gathering is there are three pillars of what you’re trying to accomplish here, and it really boils down to: 1. make worker more safe, 2. making them more productive , and 3. allowing them to be comfortable while doing it. Is that really the essence of what WEI is all about?
Scott Corveu: Well, it’s really the art and the science — is really about the right combination of comfort, performance, and protection. And workers tell us – and safety people around the world tell us that they want to be able to do their jobs, and be protected. They need to perform their task in different ways and different applications, but they also need to be [inaudible] comfortable, and often times most manufacturers struggle to get all three in the right balance. So, we’ve looked at that and made new technologies that meet their biggest unmet needs, so, for example, aqua-dry — we call it our moisture management technology — it’s a patent-pending technology that uses an open-cell layer of Nitrol foam with a glove interior that absorbs hand perspirations, so that provides a much cooler, more comfortable fit for a worker, but it equally provides them the types of performance and safety that they would expect. Overall there are — as we see it — these are the biggest unmet needs, and they’ve all been grounded into six basic technologies, all within that, they said, that combination of trying to really get the art and the science to work for us with comfort, protection, and performance.
Kyle: so, Scott, you mentioned the aqua-dry technology. What are some of the other technologies that the WEI is really trying to focus on?
Scott Corveu: Another good example of that is the repel technology that we just introduced, and this was a very difficult process for us to try to combine the three combinations of technologies under one umbrella, which really Ansell has been known for its grip technology around the world for many, many years, providing workers with superior grip and various applications. Equally in those types of applications they come into contact frequently with different levels of oil, which we see as a chemical, and that really causes workers all kinds of frustrations. We believe that if the worker is not satisfied, and its causing them frustrations, and equally if the worker is not satisfied and its causing them frustrations they are not going to wear the gloves you provide them, and translating this back to the safety people, and those that are really charged with protecting workers and driving up productivity, and driving down their costs — these guys won’t wear the gloves. How do you get them to ensure they’re comfortable? That these products perform, and that they can do their jobs well. So repel — the way we combine the grip technology with the cut — basically the cut levels they expect in certain applications, and then repel technology provides capability to repel, so to speak, oils and chemicals that might get into their hands, which combined those all into one, which is very innovative. Provides more comfort, more protection, and more performance.
Brandon: so, the technologies that you’re talking about, these are all incorporated into your glove lineup, but for people that know Ansell, they know that you do protective smocks, arm-coverings, protective clothing, are these technologies that are going to be incorporated into other markets in the future?
Scott Corveu: Yeah, there’s no reason why again if you run across — it’s part of the reason why we branded these technologies, because we can use them pretty interchangeably depending on the types of application — or even the types of actual personal protection equipment that’s somebody’s using. For example the intercept technology that we have with our yarns — that could easily be built into clothing protection for somebody that’s in food processing for example, and again, there are other types of technology that we define as ‘platforms,’ so if we have the brand of the technology branded, if you will, that gives us the ability move it to different products and different core brands over time and leverage those — somewhat like an Intel Inside strategy over time, as we go. Moisture management is a big problem, most people who are wearing clothing are not comfortable and they’re trying to do their jobs, so the application of comfort, protection, and performance applies in those situations. So our intent is to use these technologies as platforms, which is why we gave them their brand trademarks, or names if you will, and then over time we will leverage those across our whole product portfolio.
Brandon: so, back in September of this year, at the NSC congress and expo, you released all of these technologies to the public. What was their reaction, was there positive feedback, negative feedback, what was the result?
Scott Corveu: It was really super, I mean this is, again, this is sort of a coming out for Ansell with a lot of these new technologies — we use the national safety council as a platform for doing that, we’ll be doing the same thing at eight plus eight at diesel Germany next week, but again we sort of took the worker experience innovation model and created a working lab, if you will, where we would — by invitation only, we would take some of our key customers in and we would actually walk them through and actually demonstrate how the new technologies work, we would put them on their hands, we would speak to them, in terms of how it would solve problems for them — and we’re doing the same next week, and it went really well. We’ve actually won two or three awards — safety awards if you will, for some of the best new products of the year are Hi-Flex 518, which is a cut level three, eighteen gauge product first to market has been winning awards left and right, so we’re excited about that, and we’re expecting some of the other products will have the same success of the Hi-Flex 518 did because of, again, in many ways they’re first to market, they solve the big unmet needs that user talk about. So we use the Chicago show and, as they said, eight plus eight to really selectively introduce these new technologies to people. I say selectively because of the tasks Ansell has been used serve as a platform for other’s R&D, and we want to be a little careful about who we show these technologies to, give them a little bit of a mystique, but equally so, in some cases we have to protect our intellectual property. Once these things get into the market they get used in many ways, we’ll have first mover advantage, which gives us hopefully a lot of growth in the future.
Brandon: so, Scott, what is it that makes Ansell focus so much on PPE, and in particular – hand PPE. Why do you concentrate so heavily on hand PPE?
Scott Corveu: Well, that’s a good question. And we deal with this every day around the world, because it’s — depending on the regulatory requirements and the developed versus un-developed markets, people are very conscious of hand protection and the cost, I mean it is the biggest pp — personal protection category that people deal with. And it can impact their performance in terms of productivity and injury-levels because the hand is usual the first place where people get injuries.
Brandon: so, I guess the big question for anybody who is listening to this right now – when can I get my hands on these new Ansell products?
Scott Corveu: All of these products are now available in our warehouses around the world, in all the major market. Our sale’s people, all 300 of them, around the world are out selling these new products to our customers, there’s a lot of media hype around them. We’re doing a lot of sampling and demoing, so we’ll just suggest that they reach out to their Ansell sales representatives, and we’ll be happy to take them through.
Brandon: alright Scott, thank you again for your time. We really appreciate you being on the program with us.
Scott Corveu: it was a pleasure.
Brandon: we’ve been talking with Scott Corveu at Ansell about their new worker experience innovation platform, and Kyle, what do you think? For me, I’m looking at their new lineup and their technologies and I’m seeing a focus that isn’t based on the cheapest product, they’re not trying to pump out as many gloves as they can — which I mean I’m sure they probably are — they’re trying to focus on what it is the worker is experiencing. They’re not worried so much about being a price leader, but they’re worried about how the glove feels on your hand, and how it protects your hand, and — I don’t know what do you think?
Kyle: no, I really think they’re focused on the user needs. I don’t think there can be a concept anymore, it’s just one glove fits all, I think the workers experiences that they’re experiencing in the workplace are being translated into their new technologies and into they’re new product. And I think as the future unfolds we’re going to see a lot more of this from them, and a lot more workers wanting to use their product because they allow them to work more efficiently, effectively, and be comfortable and safe wearing PPE – which in some fields and work can seem like a cliché, PPE do you have your PPE on today, and I think this will alleviate a lot of that from the worker’s experience.
Brandon: well, and I know, especially with the new regulation and rulebooks that are going out, especially things like GHS where there’s people that are working with chemicals every day, and people that are working with crush hazards. Really it’s just smart business having people work with the best PPE possible, and I’m agreeing with you 100%, I think that Ansell is really focused on what the worker’s needs are, and moving forward — they already are the name — but they’re going to further themselves from anybody else by continuing to produce the best products available.
Brandon: well, everyone, it’s about that time we wrap up today’s podcast, with me once again has been Kyle Holland, and this is Brandon Nyes with the creative safety supply podcast. If you are interested in submitting ideas for future podcasts – please send me an email, you can send your emails to email@example.com. Also, if you haven’t been keeping up, we do have other podcast and additional information at our creative safety supply blog, which is at blog.creativesafetysupply.com. And if you are looking for personal protective equipment, or any other safety equipment or products – please visit our website at creativesafetysupply.com, where you can find a variety of 5s products, productivity products, things like our floor tape, safety tack, or our label printers, label tack. Be sure to stay tuned for our upcoming podcast, and who knows, maybe you’ll be the next person on the other end of this microphone. Once again this is Brandon Nyes with creative safety supply.
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