A glove maker’s aspiration to put profit side-by-side workers’ welfare

AS Penang-based glove maker Aspen Glove Sdn Bhd celebrated its recent securing of a US$100 mil sales for its nitrile medical grade examination gloves, one aspect stood out to make such achievement both sweet and meaningful.

To operate out of Kulim Hi-Tech Park in Kedah, Aspen Glove pledges to place emphasis on both employee welfare and employee empowerment – two essential conditions that are often compromised by its counterparts.

The list of welfare that Aspen Glove workforce can look forward to include a five-day work week; diversify career opportunity; focus on specialised trainings, air conditioning packing area at production line; automation equipment to improve labour safety; and personal locker system.

Moreover, the location of its plant makes it ideal for Aspen Glove to source for local labour supply which comprised both skilled and semi-skilled workers.

“We target to employ 100% of local talent based on the total headcount needed,” the company’s president and group CEO Datuk M Murly told FocusM. “For our Phase 1A, we will start with six production lines and thus we need around 450 headcount.”

In essence, every 12 production lines will require a workforce strength of 900 comprising management, administrative, engineers, skilled and semi-skilled workers. Aspen Glove plans to have a total of 14 groups that work in shifts.

Perspective of manufacturing facility

“We will be adhering to Sedex (Supplier Ethical Data Exchange) guidelines and in compliance to SMETA (Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit),” assured Murly.

“Additionally, Aspen Glove is in strict compliance with stringent international ESG (environment, social and governance) standards as our plant is a purposed built manufacturing plant with high ESG standards which in turn will provide high degree of safety and comfort for our workforce.”

Accelerating expansion plan

Aspen Glove has earlier sealed a sales and distribution agreement with an unnamed distributor for the offtake of its entire 2021 production, estimated to be in excess of one billion pieces of nitrile medical grade examination gloves which are slated for production from May 1 to Dec 31.

Pursuant to the US$100 mil agreement which entails US$100 per 1,000 pieces of gloves, the distributor has paid Aspen Glove an earnest cash deposit amounting to US$2 mil being 2% of the value of the secured sales.

Ultimately, the gloves will be distributed on an original equipment manufacturing (OEM) basis to the European Union (EU) and US markets with the required licenses being in place for the sale and distribution.

“The entry into this agreement relieves us of the need to manage sales and to negotiate with various parties,” justified Murly. “We can now focus our efforts on accelerating our expansion plans under Phase 1b to include an additional six lines which production is now expected to commence progressively from 3Q 2021 onwards and to also to bring forward Phase 2 for another 12 lines to commence progressively from 2Q 2022 onwards.”

With this sales of US$100 mil and acceleration of the additional 18 lines in 2021 and 2022, Murly expects Aspen Glove to contribute significantly to the growth in revenue and profit of its parent company, Aspen Holdings Ltd (a company listed in the Singapore Exchange’s Catalist board) for the financial year ending Dec 31, 2021.

In a related development, the Aspen Group said Aspen Glove has completed the superstructure for its production building of the manufacturing facility while the glove dipping line machineries are being constructed on site.

Construction of the facility is expected to be completed as scheduled by March 31 with production trial expected to commence from April 1 onwards. Full operations are anticipated by May 1 with first shipment slated by May 2021. – Jan 13, 2021

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