Vaccinating the Supply Chain

Coming to a national state near you is likely to be a mass vaccination program for Covid 19. DC Velocity had an interesting interview in their August 2020 with Dr. Clive Hohberger. The article focused on the supply chain vaccination change itself, but in a period of shortage of transportation supply, this will affect almost all of us in the field.

Here is the article: https://www.dcvelocity-digital.com/dcvelocity/august_2020/MobilePagedReplica.action?pm=2&folio=16#pg18

So let us from a ground level, first and the 30,000 foot level, next.

Most of us logistics/supply chain professtionals have spent a lot of time late last month and early this month (September 2020) responding to transportation cost complaints from our customers, customer service, finance, sales, and C level management. Truck equipment and intermodal equipment is in short supply causing doubling and some cases tripling of transportation rates.

That will die down a bit when produce season ends which will free up some truck capacity. Only to get tied up with the winter holiday season and probably soon thereafter vaccination transport which will take top priority.

My best information is that the vaccination product will need refrigeration, which will put at a premium refrigerated storage and reefer truck trailers. Everyone will know this is a priority and normal van drivers may be recruited over to the refrigerated side. One could make an educated guess that the federal government will be involved in this process and in the absence of lack of organized industry, would likely dictate the terms of this.

So that me means that additional safety stock of an organization might be something to plan for. Likely the shorter distance you can keep to your customers the easier it will be to meet customer expectations on delivery. It also means you can anticipate high transportation and warehouse costs to continue through mid-year.

Professional supply chain organizations can play a major role in this. On the basic level, they are in a position to start a conversation on this issue. There is not much conversation on it now. Secondly they can be a catalyst for getting an industry approach to this issue. There are lot of smart, capable people out there, who can think through the issues of vaccination transportation supply. They can suggest proposals to make the process more efficient

A third thing a joint industry effort can do is make the federal government more transparent on its thoughts and processes in this. It is know the Trump administration wants to fast track the vaccination program. Making the government process more visible gives time to respond to it. That response will make it a better process. Keeping secret as it is now does give the government benefit of surprise, but I do not think that benefit is anywhere near the benefit of industrial and local, state governments, all collocating on this. If Biden is elected, he will need to work with what is already there given the time constraints. He may not get full visibility of this process until after taking office,

So in summary: Plan for supply shortage in transportation market during the winter and spring vaccination season. Support and participate in the industry response to this issue.

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