In early 2020, with the Covid-19 virus presenting a massive threat to the economy and the healthcare system, institutions across Australia required a fast response to the emerging pandemic to minimise these threats. This resulted in most organisations setting up a Covid-19 strategic stockpile of PPE and infection control devices.
With unique requirements for the Covid-19 pandemic, all of these companies had to overcome new supply challenges which were exacerbating the already fragile supply chain situation.
Westlab's Local Manufacturing Solution
In March 2020, with sustainability and clinical needs in mind, Westlab invested heavily in the innovation and development of a 100% Australian made reusable face shield. We consulted clinicians from a wide cross-section of healthcare institutions to develop the product in-house. A re-usable face shield would minimise clinical waste while providing durable and robust face protection.
The benefits of establishing local manufacturing
- Support local jobs
- Reduce wastage and environmental impact of disposable shields
- Meet the specific requirements of our local health/aged care nurses
- Decrease reliance of overseas supply and boost sovereign manufacturing capacity
After several prototyping rounds, Westlab finalised the design, obtaining ARTG listing for the product for supply into healthcare companies across the country.
Ramping up our production capacity, Westlab secured our supply chain of raw material to initiate production of face shields in bulk for the Australian healthcare systems.
Capacity and Local Jobs
With the raw material supply chain secured for Westlab, we initiated our local manufacturing, pumping out approximately 190,000 shields per week. The innovative flat-pack design further maximised storage capacity, something which was not a common luxury amongst healthcare companies.
This program allowed Westlab to keep approximately 400 people employed, a lifeline to people whose livelihoods were otherwise going to be severely impacted by the pandemic.
Through the process, we have set up significant infrastructure and automation to maintain our high volume requirements so we can guarantee supply. Westlab have been contracted with ongoing supply of reusable face shields due to our ability to meet demand and enjoy successful relationships with our clients.
- Epworth Healthcare
- Federal Australian Government
- WA Health
- HealthShare Victoria
- SA Health
- Ryman Healthcare
- NT Health
- Mater Health