A global crisis calls for a global response — that’s why Dioz Group founder Johnny Beig utilized his company’s massive international network of manufacturers to supply personal protective equipment (PPE) to thousands of frontline workers, corporations, healthcare facilities, pharmacies, consumers and government agencies nationwide.
Best known for their manufacturing of uniforms and athleticwear under the brand Alanic, Dioz Group usually supplies apparel to Fortune 500 companies, marathons, sports teams, and major sporting events around the world, from FIFA , UFC, Superbowl, Cricket World Cup, Disney, Google. But when COVID-19 began to spell trouble for their factories in China, Johnny and his team could sense that a shift was imminent.
“We started hearing rumblings in January about ‘virus-related’ delays,” commented Jeff Cheema, Director of Operations for Dioz Group. “At the time, we saw this as more of an inconvenience with delayed shipments from overseas than anything, since there was so little info available and we knew we would have some upset clients on our hands.”
By March, COVID-19 hit the US with hurricane-like strength, throwing the company’s entire business model into jeopardy. Since so many of their clients needed apparel for marathons, professional sporting events, and other large, in-person gatherings, nationwide stay-at-home restrictions meant decimated demand for Dioz Group’s products. When Johnny’s brother Tony Beig, who was in the company’s UK office at the time, contracted COVID-19 himself, it became clear that a manufacturing pivot could do more than save the business — it could also save lives.
“Everything felt very uncertain, from a business perspective and a personal one as we didn’t know what to expect with this Virus,” said Johnny. “With China opening up and the US locking down, I felt a responsibility to use our business and manufacturing resources to help and keep people safe.”
Once factories began to reopen in China, Beig and his team jumped at the opportunity to start manufacturing PPE. Dioz’s core business has an expansive network of factories and sourcing agents for most product categories, so Johnny and Tony both began notifying their overseas teams that they were in active pursuit of large volumes of n95 masks, surgical masks, gloves, isolation gowns, sanitizer, coveralls, ventilators and more.
This ultimately led to the establishment of 8 Health, a business dedicated to providing medical supplies and equipment to healthcare professionals, government agencies, and first responders.
To adapt to this completely new business venture, Beig and his team spent long hours each day educating themselves on products, pricing, production times, and, most importantly, factory output capabilities during a pandemic. Many frenzied Zoom meetings later, the Dioz Group was ready to support the front lines.
After securing FDA approval as an authorized importer, his team vetted each factory to ensure their products had all the necessary certifications.
Since demand in the United States was immediate, the 8 Health team shifted from traditional ocean freight product transport to air freight. This presented new obstacles — many flights were grounded to help stop the spread of COVID-19, and the few remaining air freight options were surging prices to make up for drastically reduced air travel. While this presented some issues early on, Johnny’s team eventually came to a financially viable agreement with the airlines to ensure PPE delivery to frontline workers as quickly as possible.
“We got into this business to help, and we never price-gouged,” explained Johnny. “So, with low margins and huge spikes in freight on orders that we had already committed to, we had some major issues with the numbers early on. We believed that showing integrity early would further our business down the line.”
The next obstacles came from the United States Government, which restricted the availability and importing of certain PPE categories. As PPE demand increased for healthcare and frontline workers, the government did not want these products available for private distribution. Understanding this reasoning, Beig shifted his focus to consumer-grade PPE that would protect from the virus without taking high-demand PPE away from essential workers.
Though there were additional hurdles, most notably the circulation of counterfeit PPE to international suppliers, Beig and his team soon established a well-functioning supply channel. Product limitations became few and far between, eventually leading the brothers to establish another organization: Clean Health USA, an e-commerce website dedicated to supplying consumer-grade PPE to both frontline workers and the general population.
After all was said and done and the year’s financials were tabulated, everyone was astonished by the numbers. For what felt doomed to be a down year, the company ended up surpassing even its wildest pre-pandemic projections. Dioz Group’s sales have tripled from the previous year, and the company has now effectively built out an organized health and medical product division with projected and early 2021 figures indicating similar growth this year. With both sides of the business operating at full capacity, the company is now working on expanding its product offerings even further.
“We have been contacted by a ton of organizations already this year looking for help sourcing syringes and storage fridges for the vaccine rollout, so this is a new category we are now exploring,” explained Johnny. “I was always taught that in the middle of difficulty lies opportunity, and it’s incredible to see our hard work have such far-reaching effects.”
To date, 8 Health and Clean Health USA have supplied PPE to hundreds of healthcare and Government organizations, including FEMA, the Department of Justice, the Department of Health, Department of Veteran Affairs, Palos Hospital, Colorado Health, Kaiser Permanente, UCLA Health, Mayo Clinic, Los Angeles County, LAUSD, and many more. Faced with an unprecedented crisis for both his business and the planet, Johnny Beig turned adversity into an opportunity to provide much-needed protection to people around the world.
“We are so thankful for everything we have managed to pull off,” said Johnny. “The fact that it all contributed to the health, safety, and wellbeing of others makes it so much more worthwhile.
Hopefully, once this pandemic break, we will have a chance to all celebrate together.”For more details about the company, visit the Dioz Group website.