Jack Boss, president of Honeywell Safety Products, and John Montigny, chief marketing officer, Honeywell Safety Products, engaged with ISHN's For Distributors Only for this exclusive Q&A.

How does Honeywell Safety Products see U.S. sales shaping up for 2013? What % growth do you expect for the U.S. industrial safety market? For Honeywell Safety Products?

We do expect the U.S. industrial safety market to grow in 2013 due to several factors. The first, and most immediate, is also the most unfortunate in terms of the human impact —the devastation of Superstorm Sandy. Estimates of the cost of reconstruction projects have ranged from $33 billion in New York State alone to a total of $60 billion or more.

Additional factors influencing the growth of the market include continuing new regulations, such as the expected new residential roofing requirements for Fall Protection to come into effect in 2013. In addition, the risk of liability lawsuits will continue to force companies to ensure greater compliance.

We plan to outperform the U.S. market growth due to several initiatives we are undertaking. In 2013 we are introducing new differentiated, exciting products across a number of our leading brands that fuse technology, comfort, design, and safety. Highlights are Miller®’s new Aircore harness and our lower profile North respirator cartridges. We are also introducing Oliver®’s new leather premium footwear range.

Moreover, we are expanding our development of services and solutions that encourage PPE and safety practices to preempt safety incidents before they occur — Eyelation which features Web-enabled kiosks that help users fit, select, and order prescription safety eyewear; and ESP™ Enabled Safety Products that feature built-in intelligence or asset tracking and compliance.

We are also expanding our reach and market presence with strategic investments in our sales teams and the development of innovative, interactive educational tools like our Honeywell Road Show trailers.                                                                        

Honeywell CEO Dave Cote, in announcing 3rd quarter earnings, spoke of “new platform wins across a number of our businesses.” Is the global industrial safety market considered by Honeywell to be a “new platform”?

Yes, Dave Cote noted the global industrial safety market is a new platform for Honeywell. PPE is fully aligned with Honeywell’s objective of making the world safer and more secure, more comfortable and energy efficient, and more innovative and productive. As you know, Honeywell has invested significantly, and impressively, in the market over the last years with the acquisitions of market leaders North, Sperian, and King’s.

 In the next 1-3 years, in what safety product areas will Honeywell Safety Products invest the most dollars in R&D?

Backed by the global resources of Honeywell International and its $1.5 billion corporate R&D budget, we draw on the corporation’s exceptional technology and innovation capabilities. Our major investments focus on the following:

• Ergonomics and human-centric engineering as we create the industry’s most comfortable and functional safety products;

• Analytic and diagnostic technologies that monitor and collect the data that’s needed to build an informed safety culture;

• Communications for networked safety solutions, such as WiFi, bar codes, RFID, and in-ear technology to enable localization, worker condition monitoring, and emergency alerts;

• Advanced materials in all environments in order to continue to improve product performance under a variety of conditions.

Please explain the concept of Enabled Safety Products – PPE with RFID tags. How do you see this technology evolving in the next 1-3 years?

Most of the safety managers are constantly pressured with compliance and tracking requirements and we developed Enabled Safety Products to help them to be more productive and meet their work requirements. Many of our leading PPE products are now integrated with RFID tags, which combined with our web-based asset tracking and inspection software, enable a higher-level of safety compliance and simplified data management. The RFID technology is critical in providing a robust and effective means of identifying the PPE – which is the really the first step in an effective asset management system.  We continue to see this technology evolve and integrate into more PPE and adapt to other diverse end-use applications, as well as rapid adoption of  smartphones and other mobile devices to collect and manage information. 

In the next 1-3 years, what % of Honeywell Safety Products marketing dollars will be invested in social media, such as Twitter, FaceBook, LinkedIn, and ads specially designed for smartphones and tablets?

Over the next few years, we’ll increase our use of all appropriate social media and mobile to engage safety managers and end-users of PPE. It’s no secret that social engagement in the B2B space has lagged behind the consumer market. Today, social traffic is still relatively low but that’s changing.  Use of social media is increasing moderately each year as customers are looking to stay on top of trends and opportunities, resolve issues and contribute to the safety conversation in the marketplace. Accordingly, we expect that our investment in social will rise to approximately 10% of our total marketing dollars over the next few years.

What global macro trends in 2013 will benefit Honeywell Safety Products both in the U.S. and around the world?

As an overarching issue, safety and personal well-being will continue to increase in importance as a critical factor in our workplaces and our lives — and will play out in a variety of trends around the world. Safety-focused regulations will continue to increase in high growth regions such as Brazil, Russia, and Asia — as well as in developed markets like Canada and the U.S. New types of workplace risks, such as biohazards, are inspiring new approaches to safety as well as PPE solutions. In environments where there are low compliance rates, new strategies, processes, and solutions will be developed to ensure safety concerns are addressed, requirements met, and incidents prevented. In fact, globally, corporate responsibility initiatives — combined with a growing understanding that building a culture of safety drives better productivity, lowers risk, and improves profitability — will drive enterprise-wide commitments to safety.

Please take this opportunity to express any other insights or information regarding Honeywell Safety Products, to both U.S. end users and U.S. distributors of industrial safety products.

Honeywell Safety Products today holds the preeminent position as the leading “Head to Toe” personal protective solutions provider. We’re committed to enhancing that position — and dramatically so. Moreover, we are leveraging those efforts by re-investing in our sales team and channels and in our worldwide support and service capabilities. We want to ensure that customers receive the maximum possible benefit from our innovation in our mission to assist them achieve their goal of building a healthy culture of safety within their organizations.