Brett Wakeley is the Professional Solutions Manager at Polyco Healthline. With a background in procurement, international supply chains, buying and business development, he’s worked in the PPE industry for 12 years and joined the company eight years ago.
Today he oversees product delivery from inception to manufacture, taking pride in the fact that he’s making a tangible difference to end-users’ lives.
His hand protection specialism means Brett’s exposed to a wide cross section of industries. He loves travel and meeting new people. So it’s a dream come true that he’s regularly overseas – in Iceland, Saudi Arabia, Korea, China, to name a few – chasing the world’s cutting-edge glove technology.
As Polyco Healthline’s authority on industrial product composition, Brett knows how to scrutinise problems. He first breaks them down to identify all contributing factors. Then he builds up material combinations that will work as a perfect product solution.
So Brett, what questions are you asked most frequently?
Actually, I don’t get asked a lot of questions – it’s usually the other way around, with me asking the questions!
But the primary customer concern is almost always ‘how can I find a more comfortable solution that will last longer and offer better protection?’. That’s the nuts and bolts. Roughly 90% of the problems I encounter are related to mechanical gloves (cut, tear, abrasion and puncture resistance), and then finer details like chemical resistance.
What questions do you wish were asked more frequently?
To be honest, I don’t expect to be asked anything. I never assume customers know what they need/want, but it’s usually evident there is likely a problem requiring a solution – otherwise why invite us? It is rightfully expected that we be the ‘glove experts’. I always try to observe and then ultimately steer the questions in the direction of identifying the actual problems requiring solutions (which may not even be glove related). The customer’s concern is improved efficiency and safety, our concern is to provide industry-leading hand protection advice and hopefully solutions for them (or develop new solutions).
What do you feel is the biggest problem within the health and safety industry?
On the whole, the health and safety industry can be quite resistant to change. For example, there’s often a slow uptake on new technology and on ecommerce. We’re always developing with the future in mind (wearable-tech, nano-tech, new yarns, etc), to evolve and improve anything current.
How do Polyco Healthline’s products and/or services address that problem?
We’re fortunate that we’ve got a very professional and experienced team at Polyco Healthline. They have deep knowledge on the wealth of products at their disposal. They are all H&S trained. They prioritise and understand customer needs. Their ability is superb. Without a doubt, our people are our biggest asset. As the ‘Solutions Manager’, my goal is to give our team a comprehensive and quality range of ‘solutions’ and ultimately the confidence to go toe-to-toe against any other global PPE provider.
What is your favourite product and why?
While protection is essential, my passion is all about trying to achieve the ultimate comfort with our products. So my favourite product would have to be the Polyflex® Ultra – the most comfortable general handling industrial glove in our range (in my opinion). Its 15-gauge liner has a high nylon / Lycra® content, making it incredibly flexible and breathable. And its coating is a bi-polymer blend of polyurethane and nitrile, providing great longevity, dexterity and tactility.
Oh and I love the Dyflex® Air – I wear it regularly when doing woodwork and general maintenance. Simply an outstanding product!
What future development will have the greatest impact on your industry specialism? What will change?
The market it definitely moving towards a one-product solution for everything. And there’s also the desire for a (single SKU) product that fits multiple hand sizes. This would solve a lot of problems and reduce the number of SKUs (stock-keeping units) for distributors considerably.
Of course, that ‘Utopian’ glove would still need to be industry-specific. A precision engineer requires different hand protection to a demolition worker. But each solution will need good longevity and have a low impact on the environment. As suppliers, we have to play our part in manufacturing more eco-friendly gloves from responsibly sourced materials.
Why are you proud to sell and represent Polyco Healthline products and services?
The main reason is that the product we sell and the service we provide is quality. When someone is engaging in dialogue, we want to give the best quality advice with the best possible solution. That’s the foundation for it all. And when I look at Polyco Healthline, it’s a quality outfit with quality products. Really good people who I thoroughly enjoy working with.
What project are you most excited about at the moment?
At the moment, we’re aligning ourselves more closely with several industries where we feel our range could be stronger. And some of those industries operate in extreme climates or specific environments. More appropriate hand protection in hotter and colder environments has the potential to revolutionise these industries’ working conditions.
Then there’s also the opportunity to develop products with exciting new yarn and fabric technology. Some of these will be thinner and lighter, but still maintain exceptional performances.
How are you able to provide the greatest value to Polyco Healthline customers?
Personally, I think my value lies in the ability to deconstruct end user problems. I enjoy stripping it back to the skeleton of the problem. It’s one thing to have access to yarns, polymers and customers. It’s another thing altogether to take every requirement, assume nothing and then work out the fundamental considerations / colours / aesthetics / materials of a product and arrive at an “on-target” solution. In that way, we’re always listening, learning and evolving.
You can contact Brett via email: