Rhino Health is Bringing the Manufacturing of Surgical Gloves Back to the United States

Wednesday, August 05, 2020

Rhino Health is bringing the manufacturing of surgical gloves back to the United States - in Gallup, New Mexico. They plan to produce 1 billion gloves per year to start (less than 2% of the U.S. market, demonstrating a significant room for growth). The plant was planned prior to COVID-19 creating an additional demand for surgical gloves, and as CEO Mark Lee said, “It makes sense to make the gloves in America where the customers are.”

Gallup is a ‘transportal’

Gallup, New Mexico is part of a manufacturing community CEO Mark Lee and partner Holland Sullivan calls a ‘transportal’. Over 15,000 trucks pass through the area each day, in addition to the area’s significant rail activity. “It’s a beating heart of America’s logistics system and now we are going to do something to support that at a very different and bigger level,” said Sullivan.

Lee and Sullivan are advocating for Gallup to be designated as an inland port so that sealed containers could go directly to Gallup for processing, instead of being processed at Long Beach or other water ports. Their idea makes sense when considering that Gallup is eleven hours from the port in Long Beach, California where the customs backup can last for up to a week. Designating Gallup as an inland port would help to alleviate some of this conjunction and spur economic growth.

“If you co-locate factories and distribution centers and warehouses next to a logistics center you’re pumping into our economy not just imported goods but goods made in America again,” Sullivan said. 

McKinley County is the right spot for manufacturing 

In addition to logistics, Gallup offers clear financial advantages - real estate prices are significantly lower than in California, Colorado and other western states. For manufacturing companies like Rhino Health, who require large buildings for production, the lower cost of land makes manufacturing in McKinley County an ideal solution. Still, before choosing Gallup the company had to address potential concerns over water access. The Greater Gallup Economic Development Corporation introduced the company to the NMSBA where they met and partnered with Patrick Brady of Sandia National Laboratories who was able to develop methods to reduce their factory water consumption by 22% to 30%. This change is good for the environment and for the company’s bottom line. This level of collaboration and problem solving is common in New Mexico and in Gallup.

Manufacturing in America makes logistical and financial senses

The composites for the gloves come from South Korea but it makes sense to make the gloves in America, near their customer base. Rhino Health already has commitments for five years of production. With the increased need caused by COVID-19, it is highly likely that they will have an even greater demand from local customers.

Visit the Rhino Health website here.

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