Bristol on a high in the Low Countries

Published:  23 November, 2009

Holland’s Groningen province has recently become the third in the country to sign a contract for the supply of Bristol‘s firefighter PPE under the European Tendering Process, adding substantially to the company’s coverage of the Netherlands’ municipal fire services for the supply of protective fire clothing and its penetration of the PPE market in the European Union.

Groningen is one of 3 provinces in Northern Netherlands, is situated in the north east of the country, and, with the completion of this supply contract, follows its neighbour to the south, the Drenthe province, in specifying Bristol PPE. The contract calls for 600 sets of fire coats and trousers which will provide protection for all Groningen’s firefighters in towns across the province. The contract was won by Bristol’s distributor in the Netherlands, Mekkey, in competition with a number of major suppliers, and won out on best scores in key areas including technical performance, wearer safety and comfort. Another key factor in Mekkey’s successful bid was the company’s ability to provide a care and maintenance service for the lifetime of the PPE supplied. Mekkey Care is modelled on Bristol’s managed service and has been developed in close co-operation with Bristol to ensure that it meets the highest standards of care which customers have come to expect both in the UK and, increasingly, other countries in Europe.

The new PPE has been developed specially for the market in the Netherlands and is based on a revision of the original "Dutch" styles. The coat, trouser and coverall have been updated to provide a "new Dutch style" which is similar to Bristol's existing Ergotech™ models. The new garment features textured Arashield, additional contrast piping trim and breathable tape.

Groningen’s Fire Commander, Thomas Faber, said, “In 2008 we prepared an invitation to tender for the supply of fire fighter garments to cover the period 2009-2012. Following a comprehensive specification and practical appraisal of the alternatives offered, we selected Bristol’s PPE as the best suited to our needs. The level of wearer protection offered was a decisive factor in our procurement choice.” He added, “The package offered by Bristol, to be supplied through fire clothing and accessory specialist Mekkey, located in Hengelo, Overijssel, south of the two provinces of Drenthe and Groningen,  offered a combination of good fit and a high degree of protection.  The large range of sizes available was another factor in our selection which weighed in Bristol’s favour.”

Erik Mekkelholt, Mekkey’s director, commented, “We have been particularly pleased with the very positive reaction to  this new style of kit from Bristol which has helped us win contracts not only in Groningen province but also in Hollands-Midden and looks set to provide further opportunities in the future.”

Commenting on the contract win Melvyn Owen, Bristol’s International Sales Manager, added, “Whilst the updating of the Dutch model style proved a significant help, it was undoubtedly the garment's performance and fit, something that Bristol is renowned for, which was a major element in providing the successful bid”.

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