IN NATURE, survival is predicated on the ability to adapt to changing circumstances – and if the Covid-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that the laws of evolution are equally applicable to the business world – certainly in the case of long-established Scottish firm Orb Group.

Founded in 1994 by Mike Smith and Karen McBride, the supply chain business recently enjoyed their silver anniversary celebrating 25 years of success, creating and supplying promotional products for some of the UK’s biggest brands – Tunnocks, Arnold Clark, Irn Bru, and Scottish Power, to name but a few. Yet, even such a prestigious and respected heritage did not make Orb Group immune to the global economic meltdown inflicted by Covid-19.  

With the firm’s highly dedicated workforce now committed to finding new solutions for clients in ‘the new normal’, it quickly became apparent that Scotland’s business community now required a variety of different products to ensure their ongoing success – namely, PPE equipment.

Orb co-founder Mike explained: “I came up with the initial idea to branch out into PPE and temporarily move away from our traditional product line of promotional materials for clients. It was quickly apparent this was the direction of travel we had to pursue – our normal market was drying up because of the pandemic and clients had new priorities to ensure their economic survival.


“At first, we were getting enquiries about hand sanitisers so quickly decided to set up our own brand – Instasan – which was an immediate success due to it being a quality product and very good value for money. With Instasan, we were getting major clients on board such as the NHS, funeral homes, manufacturers and food suppliers – and it became clear quite quickly that our clients also had a pressing need for further PPE items, so we decided to branch out further and deliver on their requirements.”

Professionally manufactured to pass the most robust UK safety standards and with materials sourced ethically from Fair Trade partners, Orb Group’s most popular PPE products include fully adjustable and reusable face coverings, FFP2 and medical standard masks, 75% alcohol hand sanitisers and nitrile gloves. Other vital safety items they supply include hand sanitiser stands, face visors, aprons and space dividers - all of which can be fully branded with a company’s own logo where required.

With many businesses slowly inching back to some sort of normality and offices slowly opening back up in the weeks to come, social distancing is set to continue for the foreseeable future and it is clear employers across many industries and sectors will have to implement new rules as part of their duty of care to employees.


It is likely that PPE products such as hand sanitiser and fully-certified face masks will be a necessary provision for years to come – with Orb Group committed to bringing their high quality and competitively-priced PPE product range to all firms that require the items during this difficult period.

Co-founder Karen explains: “For 25 years, we have exceeded our clients’ expectations and they have trusted in our integrity, allowing us to steadily build up excellent relationships with some of the UK’s biggest brands. They know we are fully compliant with all guidelines and safety criteria and have always been committed to ethically sourcing all materials.

“There are a lot of fake and shoddy PPE products out there at the moment – people have to be careful about what they’re getting and paying a lot of money for what could be useless or, worse, dangerous equipment.”

New customers the firm have picked up in the last few weeks include Network Rail, Royal Mail, Malcolm Group and National Express – major clients who were searching for the best PPE at the most competitive prices, ultimately deciding to come on board with Orb Group.

“When these clients’ original supply chain couldn’t meet their needs - or they have been overcharged - they have then come to us and been highly satisfied with our goods and pricing,” Mike confirms. “We are currently looking for SMEs and smaller firms to consider us for their PPE requirements as business gets back to a semblance of normality. We cater for everyone’s needs, no matter how big or small the client.

“At a time when there are PPE shortages throughout the UK and fully certified face masks are difficult to find, Orb Group is glad to be able to provide a fully compliant range and service for all our clients.”

With a network of offices in Glasgow, London, Shanghai, Los Angeles, Sao Paulo and Sydney, Orb Group has the international presence required to manage brands globally, regionally or locally.

The firm is also a member of Sedex and follow the Ethical Trading Initiatives recommendations to meet and maintain high standards in supply chain management. Their products are also responsibly made to mitigate the impact on the environment as much as possible – such as a new face covering product made from rPET bottles.

Orb Group’s skilled compliance manager ensures every item the firm supplies is of the highest possible quality and provides the best available standards of protection and hygiene.

Mike concludes: “We are proud of our PPE materials and hope to keep the supply chain healthy so no-one who needs these vital goods goes without.

“For quality of PPE products and value for money, no-one can come close to Orb Group. We cover everything and everyone – the service industry, health, care homes, hospitality, hotels, transport, offices and beyond. Frontline PPE is popular at the moment but soon I expect our space dividers and sanitary products will become just as in-demand in the weeks and months to come when offices, factories, hotels, restaurants, bars and showrooms slowly get back to some sort of normality.

“Our loyal employees are adapting incredibly well to difficult and unprecedented circumstances, seeing new opportunities and exceeding clients’ expectations. We are all are highly motivated at Orb group and driven to provide the best possible service and PPE products for our clients’ needs.”