Chef wear and hospitality uniform specialist manufacturer Tibard is now busy turning out thousands of hospital scrubs for the NHS as it fights to treat patients with the novel Coronavirus.
The company’s Dukinfield, Tameside factory usually manufactures chef jackets, trousers, hats and aprons but everything changed with the closure of bars and restaurants due to Covid-19 as Tibard’s customers shuttered and stopped spending on uniforms.
The move left Tibard’s purpose built textile factory without work, but Tibard managing director, Ian Mitchell, decided to offer its services to the NHS. Via a local fabric partner, Tibard contacted the NHS Supply Chain and offered to supply any surplus orders immediately. In the first week of production the company was able to turn out 5,000 scrubs tops and the same number of trousers. Luckily the production line didn’t need significant alteration as the only key difference is the fabric scrubs are made from, which is lighter weight than Tibard’s usual textiles, and the garments don’t need a front fastening.
Now, in the fourth week since social distancing measures came in, Tibard has 60,000 orders for scrubs, according to John Shonfeld, Tibard’s group chairman: “We are making 400-450 sets a day at Tibard. Additionally, we have sourced 20,000 sets from other companies in the UK and are manufacturing in South Africa and Latvia to the tune of around 3,000 sets a week. The first batch from South Africa is due in in tomorrow.
“The scrubs are forwarded to a distributor that supplies the NHS nationally. We have also supplied them ourselves to local and national hospitals. We will soon have enough surplus ‘free’ stock, ie not already committed to customers, so we can supply to anyone who needs it from stock from the beginning of May.”
Shonfeld added that the company is also manufacturing shrouds and supplying towels to Salford Hospital for NHS staff showers.
Mitchell concluded: “It was important to all of us here at Tibard to do our part to support our medical staff and that’s why we had to offer our services. Businesses across the country should be analysing their function within society. Our NHS is on the front line fighting this dreadful virus and it is up to businesses to do their part in whatever way they can.”