Aligning supply of critical items (ventilators, beds, masks, drugs, etc.) to the hospitals that need them most is the need of the hour.
Brave doctors and nurses and hospital staff are on the front line of the battle against COVID-19, putting their lives at stake for all of us. It is clear that Federal, State, Local government authorities, hospitals and health care suppliers across the supply chain are working hard to align changing demand and supply to maximize patient and provider care outcomes.
Solving this problem is not an insurmountable challenge. Platforms like o9 are helping global enterprises forecast demand, plan production, procurement and distribution across the supply chain to ensure that the products we buy at the shelf or get delivered to our businesses are available when we need them.
Adapting our platforms and knowledge of managing supply chains to the current crisis has 3 core challenges.
- Unprecedented circumstances: The speed with which needs are changing at hospital, local levels is unprecedented. At the same time, supply has been disrupted across the supply chain. Visibility to who can deliver what reliably is at an all time low. The risks of getting demand and supply wrong however is not a stockout of some packaged foods or televisions at a shelf but literally the difference between life and death.
- Cross-Organizational Coordination: When operating the supply chain for a business, there is an organization for planning and a process for making decisions that optimize goals for the business. Today, multiple parties – Local, State and Federal authorities – are rapidly working to figure out how to get all necessary supplies to where it needs to be.. This needs to be done in a coordinated manner . There is a need for a coordinated group that pulls together stakeholders, Federal, State and Local authorities, hospitals and suppliers, for making decisions in real time.
- Integrated Approach: Core to the coordination is having a way to forecast COVID-cases (including critical and ICU patient scenarios), determine critical supply needs, align current inventories, and stage production, procurement and distribution for critical supplies against the need. This needs understanding supply chain capacities and constraints of those supplies across multiple players in the supply chain. The need of the hour is a planning process that makes getting such data visibility in real time from different stakeholders. All this needs to be orchestrated in a planning platform that enables collaboration between central teams and local stakeholders to drive right prioritization and allocation decisions.
We at o9 have the planning platform and the expertise for global organizations to manage demand and supply in highly dynamic conditions. However daunting the above challenges seem to be, they must be addressed. We have to make it happen to not just manage the COVID-19 response in the next few weeks and months, but also be prepared for future emergencies and pandemics.
To assist in a way that we can, we have been building a healthcare supply chain planning model to address this need. We are deploying o9 expertise pro-bono to get things rolling immediately, and have started to reach out to Federal, and State authorities whose support will be critical to create this coordinated response.
– Chakri Gottemukkala
CEO, Co-Founder, o9 solutions