How the COVID-19 pandemic led to a new venture for Bailey Print Group

What do you do when a pandemic upends your business model, and you are faced with standing down staff and turning off machinery? For signage and printing specialists Bailey Print Group, the answer to this question lay in retooling and readapting their workforce to produce vital medical equipment which was in short supply.

The decision by Bailey Print Group to turn around their business model followed calls from various state governments asking Australian businesses to help assist with the critical shortfall of personal protective equipment by redeploying spare capacity to manufacture items such as face shields and hand sanitiser which were urgently needed by health professionals in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Their goal in answering this ‘call to arms’ was simple; to provide businesses with a reliable supply of Australian made, reusable face shields for use during the pandemic now and beyond, by not having to rely on overseas supply chains.

Using their own in-house technology, machinery and expertise, the team researched and prototyped various types of face shields before settling on a final design. Once production began, the business was soon operating 22 hours a day, six days a week to meet demand.

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 1000 shields for a Queensland Hospital.

Since then, Bailey Protection Gear has secured a contract with Queensland Health to supply 20,000 face shields, and continues to ship to hospitals and healthcare workers nationwide.

“Delivering our first shipment of face shields to the intensive care unit at one of Brisbane’s largest hospitals was an incredibly emotional experience. Hospital staff were so thankful to have locally produced shields supplied so quickly,” said Samantha Bailey-Jensen, Business Development Manager at Bailey Print Group.

For some healthcare workers, the availability of the face shields couldn’t have come soon enough.

“The call from Samantha Bailey-Jensen regarding the company’s ability to supply locally manufactured PPE was such a relief. We had staff in tears worrying that PPE would not be readily available. Knowing we could have a local supply was reassuring to the safety of our team,” said a nurse manager in the Central Clinical Resource Unit at Woolloongabba’s Princess Alexandra Hospital.

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

In light of recent regulatory changes that increases the amount of PPE that healthcare workers have the wear, the Invershield has grown in popularity among anaesthetists, gastroenterologists and plastic surgeons. The shield, with its unique inverted design protects the wearer against upward splashes, has been described by one high-profile Brisbane anaesthetist as “…an absolute game changer, and the fact it is Australian made is brilliant”.

Both shields have received approval from the Therapeutic Goods Administration and are certified Australian owned and made.

“Our business was built on the ethos of keeping manufacturing in Australia. Supporting the Australian economy and supplying local jobs is our greatest achievement. Seeing the vulnerability of our economy during this pandemic has made us even more passionate about supporting local suppliers and manufacturing within Australia,” concluded Bailey-Jensen.

To find out more about the Bailey Protection Gear story and to place an order, head to baileyprotectiongear.com.au