In recent months, Rheinmetall has mobilized its international network of subsidiaries and suppliers to secure often hard to obtain personal protecttive equipment. Today, the product range encompasses respiratory masks with various levels of protection, different types of protective clothing, and liquid disinfectant. In adopting this array of products – new to the Materials and Trade division – and opting to market them to commercial customers, the Group is systematically transforming its PPE activities into an economywide global business.
Rheinmetall’s Motorservice organization serves the international spare parts market. Based on a worldwide sales network, the company supplies engine components to wholesalers and repair shops. Today, Motorservice has some 6,000 customers in over 140 countries. As a commercial supplier specializing in high-quality technical products, Motorservice is exceptionally well positioned to market PPE products on a large scale to private sector customers, benefitting from a distribution infrastructure built up over the decades. International purchasing expertise, tried-and-tested quality control mechanisms and a well-grounded knowledge of logistics form a strong foundation for global expansion. Motorservice is synonymous with short delivery times, excellent service and comprehensive expert advice. The company’s online presence complements its spectrum of products and services, providing customers with unlimited transparency and accessibility.
Rheinmetall’s range of PPE products for the civil sector is oriented to existing customers in the technical trade as well as workshop suppliers, and therefore overlaps with the traditional core customer base of the Materials and Trade division’s spare parts business. The company also intends to expand its sales network to include specialized distribution partners and purchasing cooperatives and purchasing organizations serving clinics and nursing homes.
In the war on COVID-19, Rheinmetall has already been supplying personal protective equipment to government agencies in Germany, has entered a framework supplier agreement with the German military and is working in close cooperation with the Federal Health Ministry. To date, the company has primarily supplied respiratory masks, including FFP-2 and simpler surgical masks. The Group expects call-off orders for PPE from the framework agreement to come to around €100 million this year. Thanks to its global reach and presence in over thirty countries, including China, Rheinmetall has a robust industrial network at its disposal and reliable sources for products that meet the highest medical standards. Irrespective of this, moreover, Rheinmetall is also able to supply smaller amounts of protective equipment at regional level at any time in emergency situations.
The effort involved in supplying PPE materials that meet respective national standards continues to be considerable. High levels of capacity utilization in Chinese factories, limited shipping options as well as questions relating to payment modalities and certification are just a few of the factors that have to be taken into account during the procurement process. Risks relating to transport routes, elaborate import formalities, and proper quality controls demand professionalism and experience in procurement flows. An expert selection process makes it possible to differentiate in advance between legitimate and reliable suppliers and those whose products are unsuitable and/or uncertified or who cannot keep their promises to deliver on time.
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