The Friday Report: October 2nd, 2020Quick wrap up of a few hot topic newsworthy stories in the supply chain logistics industry
Strong Collaboration Helps Improve Healthcare Supply Chain Network
Over the past year with the rise and fall of COVID-19 around the world, industries were forced to continually evaluate and make changes. This is especially true of the healthcare system which necessitated adjustments in real time.
From a shakeup in typical supply channels and hospital protocols to changing demand, healthcare systems faced escalating numbers of coronavirus cases and shortages of medical supplies, equipment and PPE. Flexibility has been a particular area of concern. Due to the rapid need for change, hospitals have been learning from previous mistakes and continually making decisive changes. Part of the challenge in dealing with the issue of supply is the lack of visibility in the production of goods in China.
Healthcare systems began to exponentially increase order volumes. A snag in the system occurred when distributors were forced to limit the allocation of orders so that healthcare systems only received a portion of what was ordered. The allocation of goods for which orders have been placed often is dependent upon previous ordering patterns as well as contractual relationships.
Over the course of the pandemic, discussions between the major players in the healthcare supply chain have ramped up to try to identify and solve challenges that are holding up the distribution of critical goods. This includes supply chain technology companies, manufacturers, distributors, government entities and healthcare providers collaborating to build more effective healthcare supply chains.
Northeast Regional Governors Partner on PPE Supply Chain
Months ago, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, governors in the Northeastern United States formed a partnership to secure personal protective equipment and much needed medical supplies and equipment. At that time, the consortium of seven states planned to purchase approximately $5 billion of supplies and equipment, according to an announcement by Governor Cuomo of New York. The plan which was announced on May 3rd was to establish a regional PPE supply chain.
The states involved in the regional purchasing group partnership include New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. The regional partnership was initiated to reduce prices and stop states from bidding against each other for the desperately required goods.
Despite the announced good intentions, however, the states are not currently working together to fulfill the initiative. New York has awarded over $11 million in grants for PPE production by 20 New York companies and has distributed approximately 24 million pieces of equipment. In late August, legislators reported their concern that some hospital still lacked a 90-day supply of protective equipment.
Precious Metals Supply Chain Still Subject to Illicit Trafficking
The United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) produced a report in May 2020 entitled “Strengthening the Security and Integrity of the Precious Metals Supply Chain” and held a discussion with more than 50 professionals from Member States and international organizations. The report is intended to act as the cornerstone for the UNICRI initiative to “counter illicit trafficking in precious metals” and aid in identifying and evaluating points of vulnerability in precious metals supply chains.
For example, gold is a product that utilizes artisanal and small-scale mining. This makes it easy for criminal actors to mix scrap gold with illegally mined gold and introduce it into the legal supply chain. Platinum group metals are often stolen, illegally traded and trafficked by criminal actors in organized crime syndicates.
According to the UNICRI report, the precious metals supply chain can be made more secure by implementing actions including:
- Ensuring the reinforcement of national capacities
- Expanding the awareness and knowledge of threats
- Creating an international mechanism
- Encouraging more cooperation between the public and private sectors.