Right now, many small and medium-sized businesses around the world face an uncertain future. But for Danish-Vietnamese Industrial Designer Hân Pham, the spread of COVID-19 has catalysed high demand for her key product YellowOne Handsafe. "As of now, I've had more inquiries and requests for the product in a week than the last three years," Pham tells us.
The Handsafe, an Index Award 2015 Finalist, is a real timesaver in healthcare. The wearable dispenser makes it possible for workers to sanitise their hands on the go instead of only using washing stations. With two pumps, it delivers the perfect amount for thorough sanitisation, helping to avoid the spread of germs that can be particularly deadly in hospitals. Additionally, it allows healthcare workers to more comfortably touch their patients, providing more emphatic care.
While Pham was initially developing the product, she had the 2009 flu pandemic in mind. The health personnel Pham was working with demanded that the new dispensers "weren't detachable" and "couldn't be stolen" since they previously experienced a massive theft of sanitisers by patients and their families. Sound familiar?
In the past, Pham has struggled with selling the product due to limited hospital budgets, even though cost-benefit analyses show that the Handsafe will repay itself 17 times over in prevented sick days.
"As of now, I've had more inquiries and requests for the product in a week than the last three years."
Now, she's being contacted by Qatar Airlines, hospitals in Poland, distributors from Germany and Holland with direct access to hospitals, as well as the private sector in both Denmark and Norway, just to name a few. There have been more than a dozen demands on everything from 10,000 to 100,000 units per order — and that's only in the last two weeks.
Novo Nordisk has made the Handsafe a stable part of their workflow in both Denmark and China. Michael Rubio, Manager of the PS & CMC Sourcing Team (Corporate Procurement) of the company, says "the staff are thrilled with YellowOne Handsafe — they're already asking for more, just to be sure." But as of now, increasing Pham's product distribution has been put on hold, as her sanitiser supplier now only delivers directly to hospitals.
Still, Pham sees opportunity in the awareness COVID-19 has brought with it: "The good thing is that people, hopefully, have changed their hand hygiene behaviour. In the future, it might be a little easier to sell the product," she tells us.