How can I reduce workwear costs?

How can I reduce workwear costs?

clock-circular-outline Posted 23 Jun 2022



Reducing workwear costs starts with an investment in quality products, purchased from trustworthy suppliers with robust supply chains ensuring continued quality. It also requires employers to put in place the necessary processes to control allocations and eliminate rogue spend.


Nick Grinnell explains how an investment in quality up front can save employers money in the long term…


Reduce workwear costs through an investment in quality


Investing in high quality workwear at the outset benefits your bottom line in several ways.


Firstly, it lasts longer, reducing replacement cycles and saving you money in the longer term.


Secondly, in the case of PPE like safety footwear and safety gloves, it will offer the wearer better protection against work-related injuries, reducing the risk to you as their employer being subject to claims for compensation down the line.


High quality workwear also makes your employees more comfortable at work, which has been shown to boost productivity and to increase loyalty and engagement, leading to greater staff retention and reducing your recruitment costs.


When it comes to selecting quality workwear, it’s important to know the tell-tale signs of good and poor-quality fabrics and manufacturing processes.


Find out what to look for in workwear and safety shoes, and what to avoid in safety gloves.


Reduce workwear costs through buying from trustworthy suppliers


If you’ve purchased high quality workwear and PPE items in the first place, then you will be well on your way to keeping your workwear costs to the minimum while ensuring employee safety is maintained at all times.


But what happens if, six months in, your supplier’s manufacturer goes out of business or puts their prices up, leading them to provide you with alternative products sourced from another manufacturer?


We’ve talked before about how choosing a safety workwear supplier is a bit like choosing a life partner – you have to do your due diligence!


A reputable supplier will have robust supply chains with appropriate controls in place to prevent this happening. Don’t be afraid to question your supplier about their supply chain partners and the contingency plans they have in place to ensure continued provision in the event of disruption in their supply chain for whatever reason. Take time to understand the controls they have in place with manufacturers to ensure continued garment quality.


Unfortunately, we’ve seen a few suppliers be dishonest and deliberately gain your business based on quoting cheap or with a particular branded, quality product. A short while into the contract costs steadily increase or a cheaper, lower quality branded product is supplied. Before you know it, your employees are wearing a cheap copy of the original product you purchased, without you even realising it.


This is where your due diligence comes in. Look at reviews before you commit to a supplier, and ensure you regularly review the products you receive to ensure they are those you chose at the outset.


Reduce workwear costs through controlling rogue spend


Whether you call it rogue spend, tail spend or maverick spend, unexpected, unpredictable or unorthodox spend is always unwelcome in a business.


Research shows that employees are most often tempted to bypass procurement processes and make rogue purchases when it comes to relatively low-value yet high-frequency purchases like safety footwear, PPE and gloves, or small items like utility knives.


So-called ‘guided buying’ through a self-service online portal with a bespoke catalogue of pre-approved products simplifies the procurement process for these frequently purchased items, reducing frustration caused by official requisition and approval processes.


Employees are empowered to choose their own workwear, but employers can set limits as to how much they can order of any particular product and how often. These controls incentivise employees to take good care of everything they are allocated to ensure it lasts as long as possible helping reduce costs.


Find out more about iSB Group’s own online order management tool, Control iT, and how its detailed reports and analysis provide complete visibility and tracking of your business spend.


Discover more: Read how GSF Car Parts use Control iT to monitor and manage their expenditure.

By Nick Grinnell

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