How Bailey Print Group diversified during the pandemic

When the global pandemic upended Bailey Print Group’s business model and it was facing the prospect of standing down staff, the company had to come up with an innovative idea to save the business.

It also potentially saved lives as it rapidly re-tooled its sign and printing business to produce vital medical equipment, the Outdoor Media Association (OMA) reported, in its 2020 annual report which reflected on what some of its members did to keep their businesses alive.

In the early weeks of the pandemic, critical personal protective equipment (PPE) was in short supply as global freight movements slowed to a trickle.

Australian governments called on local businesses to step into the breach and redeploy any spare capacity for manufacturing equipment including face shields for healthcare workers and other frontline staff.

Bailey Print Group stepped up and transformed its business to manufacture reusable face shields.

This not only helped resolve a critical shortage immediately, it also increased Australia’s long-term capacity to rely on onshore, local manufacturers for these crucial items.

Using its own in-house technology, machinery and expertise, the team researched and prototyped various types of face shields before settling on a final design.

Its first face shield, the Shield Pro, was designed for use by government health departments, hospitals, aged care facilities, medical practices, health and beauty practitioners as well as everyday Australian businesses.

Its second shield, Invershield, was made for customer service and retail workers whose jobs present challenges in maintaining a safe social distance from others.

Both products have since been approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration and certified Australian-owned and made.

In the following months, a new venture, Bailey Protection Gear, was born and received its first order of 400 face shields within three days. This was soon followed by an order of 1,000 shields for a Queensland-based hospital.

Once production began, the business was soon operating 22 hours a day, six days a week to meet demand.

The company has since secured a contract with Queensland Health to supply 20,000 face shields.

Bailey Print Group is also shipping its products to hospitals and healthcare workers around the country.

“Our business was built on the ethos of keeping manufacturing in Australia. Supporting the Australian economy and supplying local jobs is our greatest achievement,” Bailey Print Group business development manager Samantha Bailey-Jensen said.

“Seeing the vulnerability of our economy during this pandemic has made us even more passionate about supporting local suppliers and manufacturing within Australia.”

“Living through 2020 meant living during the most challenging year on record for all of us, including our industry. Watershed moments like this can help propel us to be innovative, to change and to grow,” OMA and MOVE CEO Charmaine Moldrich said.

“This was true for our industry and for many of us personally. The pandemic brought us closer together and encouraged us to unite. While we saw some green shoots by the end of quarter four last year, as I write this in 2021, I am seeing a rapid recovery.

“Australia has moved into positive economic growth faster than we expected and the outdoor industry is reflecting that trend.”

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