Supply Chain Council of European Union | Scceu.org
News

A Shot In Everyone’s Arm Needs A Dose Of Supply Chain Management

Operation Warp Speed’s goal was to produce and deliver 300 million doses of a safe and effective vaccine with the initial availability of quantities by January 2021. The first vaccination was on December 14. As of January 11, 2021, the CDC reports 9 million completed vaccinations in the United States, with 278,522 finishing the two-dose regimen. State programs are varied and at different levels of maturity.

There is a race to move from vaccine distribution to vaccinations. Operations Warp Speed focused on logistics but lacked a comprehensive approach to drive vaccinations at the state level. Logistics alone is not sufficient. Closing the gap requires embracing the tenants of supply chain management.

Cracks, Fixes, and Potential Next Steps

Joe Biden, to fix this problem, you need more than a shot in the arm. With the growing recognition of the gap in vaccinations fuels hot debates on national television, I want to use this forum to offer a more holistic focus on how a focus on the basic principles of supply chain management might help:

-The Flu Vaccine Is A Poor Model For Covid-19 Vaccinations. When I interviewed talented drug discovery teams in September and October of 2020, I was shocked to learn that the teams saw this as just another flu rollout. The supply chain reference model for flu vaccine distribution was assumed to be the right reference model. It is not. The intricacies of short-shelf life, cold chain distribution, and safety concerns for workers are beyond flu vaccine distribution requirements. Logistics is only one part of a successful supply chain. We have not designed the Covid-19 supply chain vaccination supply chain for success.

-Ask For Help From The Experts. Weekly, the leaders in supply chain planning technologies call me to ask how to connect their services to government officials. Unfortunately, the twenty companies that I follow that would like to help (for no cost) cannot connect with the right governmental agencies. All of our emails are unanswered. Instead, there is an army of data scientists and consultants building custom and expensive one-off solutions. I do not understand why we are not deploying the well-established planning technologies to plan for the second vaccine dose. The United States has more planning talent than anywhere globally, and the talent is unused.  

-Clear Communication. At the state level, there is program execution failure. Without clear program guidance, each state is plotting its course of action. For example, I am sixty-six and living in the state of Pennsylvania. I should be on the list to get a vaccine. However, when I asked my doctor at Wellspan how to get the vaccine, she has no answer. Likewise, when I ask local CVS and Rite-Aid pharmacy, and UMPC hospital how to get on a list for the vaccine, no one knows. In my daily communication with supply chain leaders, we are all scratching our heads. How can the administration of this vital program be this bad? Every citizen in the United States needs to know how to get on the list.

-Design of the Last Mile. Typically in supply chain management, a best practice is to design the last mile (delivery and execution). Still, the severe cold chain requirements of the Pfizer PFE vaccine require the design of the supply chain to the last inch. We have only designed the first mile, not the subsequent flows in this rollout. A vaccine alone does not translate to vaccination without the availability of critical personnel, supplies, and facilities. There needs to be a concerted effort for supply chain design recognizing the constraints and streamlining the movement of supplies. Why is the government not using the available talent in the United States to design and execute this program?

Conclusion

There is a need to build a guiding coalition to create a vaccination supply chain, but there is no leadership. Let’s not fool ourselves. Covid-19 vaccination programs are not just a logistics challenge. Instead, success is dependent on the design and administration of effective policy and the alignment of supply chain flows.

The planning and policy requirements are far greater than distributing a standard flu vaccine. The states cannot do this on their own. The logistics of the powerful US military is not sufficient to drive success. The answer is far beyond the powers of the proposed powers of the National Defense Act. The collective talent of Pfizer, Moderna, UPS, McKesson

MCK
and FedEx

FDX
will not be successful without alignment on a common plan. A shot in the arm needs a call for action.

Related posts

KDMC on COVID: ‘It’s real’ — Supply Chain director about health care workers: ‘These guys and gals are my heroes’ | News

scceu

Legal target needed to cut deforestation from UK food supply chain – report

scceu

Careers on the Move: The Importance of Data Standards in Emerging Technologies and the Supply Chain.

scceu

Leave a Comment