Supply chain partnership keeps essential services running with PPE provision


A nationwide communications infrastructure specialist has been working closely with its robust supply chain to provide critical Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for field service engineers amidst the Coronavirus pandemic. The vital supplies have ensured that important engineering works have been able to go ahead throughout the past few weeks as millions more people rely on digital networks to work and learn from home.

CHH CoNeX has provided hundreds of thousands of face masks, bottles of hand sanitizer and anti-bacterial hand wipes to field service engineers across the UK. In addition to protecting the company’s own small team of engineers, the equipment has also been  shared with other businesses involved in the supply, installation and maintenance of telecommunications networks, in addition to key workers in telecommunications, warehousing, kitting, marshalling, logistics and final mile delivery.

An increased percentage of the UK’s working population has been operating from home throughout the past two months. This, together with school closures encouraging parents to teach children at home through digital services, has put an unprecedented strain on the country’s digital network. CHH CoNeX’s provision of essential PPE has ensured that key maintenance engineers have been able to carry out essential telecommunications work to keep the country connected throughout this time.

Tim Hughes, Managing Director at Birmingham-based CHH CoNeX, explained: “We took the decision very early on to work with our supply chain and access tonnes of PPE equipment to ensure that CHH and our partners can continue to deliver critical infrastructure services throughout the lockdown period. While our Managed Services team keeps engineers fully kitted out with PPE all year round, we have never had to access quite the quantity that we have recently.

“We take supply chain planning very seriously and it is only through a robust, flexible and proven supply chain that we were able to procure and supply such a large scale of PPE. We took a risk in paying up front for materials to reserve allocation before the goods had even come into our supplier, but the trust we have in our supply chain partners and the collaboration within meant we were able to take delivery of the equipment early on, as soon as it was available.

“The rules in our industry are quite simple. Without the right PPE, engineers cannot do their job. We knew we would have to lean on our supply chain to keep essential services running throughout lockdown and beyond.”

The equipment travelled even further than CHH CoNeX first envisaged, with its partners passing on equipment throughout the supply chain to utilities companies and other key workers, ensuring that Britain continues to keep essential services running even during the most challenging times.