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Balancing safety with cutting costs is a trend that’s here to stay

By COS staff

With declining oil prices and a weak Canadian dollar, companies across the country are seeking ways to reduce their overall costs, including around safety products and services, according to executives at Acklands-Grainger’s “The Works,” Canada’s largest maintenance repair and operations (MRO) and safety show in Vancouver.

“Over the last 10 years or so, there is a definitive trend in this industry… the agenda item for businesses and institutions is to get costs down and help their companies be more competitive and get more productive,” said Jim Ryan, chairman, president and CEO of Grainger. “And that trend is even more pronounced today in what is a tough local and global economy.”

Regardless of size or industry, companies across Canada are looking for ways to be more effective and efficient, said Dean Johnson, president of Acklands-Grainger. Oil and gas employers are doing this now in light of the declining oil prices, but even companies who have benefited from the current economy are looking for ways to reduce costs, he said. 

Health and safety professionals can reduce costs of personal protective equipment (PPE) for their workers by looking at standardization, said Jim Wesoloski, vice-president of global product management strategic initiatives, Acklands-Grainger. For example, figuring out exactly what type of hearing protection workers need and offering that to all applicable workers is more cost effective than needlessly stocking several different types.

“None of our customers are saying ‘We want to cut back on the safety of our team members,’” said Ken Chamberlin, vice-president and general manager, Eastern Canada, Acklands-Grainger. Rather, they are looking for ways to save money with inventory management solutions.

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