Transparency has become a global trend which benefits businesses across numerous fields. The online world — which provides consumers with easy access to information — has led to consumers demanding more transparency from the companies they purchase from. So what does this mean for us in the protective clothing industry?
Changing how we communicate
Traditionally, the protective clothing industry wasn’t so keen on providing full transparency. But this is rapidly changing, as we have to come realise that transparency is key to building trust and maintaining strong, ongoing partnerships.
We learnt just how much our clients value transparency when we published our previous blog about hyperinflation. This was received very positively within our value chain. Customers used this blog proactively to start a conversation with their end users, despite the fact that the topic of pricing is always a difficult one to have.
Broaching price increases
For over a decade, the protective clothing industry hasn’t been exposed to consistent price increases. However, with the current state of the market, we are faced with a challenging economic environment where all cost elements of our products have started to increase. We have questioned what the best way is to deal with this and communicate with the market. As a result, we’ve had to pass along price increases, balancing them out between the tiers of our supply chain. Ultimately, we recognised that throughout the supply chain, we all have a common goal: to provide end users with the best protection. So, we decided that the best approach would be to work together, shouldering the price increases as a team so that we could continue driving towards our shared goal.
“Throughout the supply chain, we all have a common goal: to provide end users with the best protection.”
Being transparent with our customers
When it came to actioning the changes in our prices, we decided to be even more transparent about our pricing components and how global shortages affect our pricing. We wrote directly to our customers, giving full clarity on the updated prices and the factors that had led to them. We also developed our own pricing index — similar to the Drewry and cotton indexes — to clearly illustrate the changes over time, with a commitment to update the index every quarter.
This was, without a doubt, a difficult conversation for us to have. However, the honesty and clarity was valued by our customers. This goes to show that in business-to-business transactions, we are all thinking like customers and demand transparency from those we conduct our business with. Even in unpredictable times, by being forthcoming with our value chain partners and opening up conversations around difficult topics such as price increases, we can adapt and move forward together.
“In business-to-business transactions, we are all thinking like customers and demand transparency from those we conduct our business with.”
To find out more about global trends, including transparency, and how they affect the protective clothing industry, learn more in our upcoming blog about the Four Global Trends. Sign up for our Industrial Safety Insights and be the first to learn more.