How a COVID-19 Vaccine is Presenting New Challenges for the Global Supply Chain

By: Pasquale Gatti | October 22nd, 2020

Just when you thought we turned a corner when it comes to supply chain barriers in 2020 here comes the COVID-19 vaccine. Of course, its arrival is fantastic news for mankind (whenever it may happen), but it presents a whole new set of challenges for the world’s complex distribution network.

According to a report from Bloomberg, the freight industry has a litany of concerns in preparation for the vaccine’s arrival including their ability to quickly transport it to billions of people around the world.

“Already stretched thin by the pandemic, freight companies face problems ranging from shrinking capacity on container ships and cargo aircraft to a lack of visibility on when a vaccine will arrive. Shippers have struggled for years to reduce cumbersome paperwork and upgrade old technology that, unless addressed soon, will slow the relay race to transport fragile vials of medicine in unprecedented quantities.”

Because vaccine supply chains are significantly more complex than PPE or consumer goods supply chains, extra precautions must be taken. 

“Health officials have said a vaccine that eventually comes to market will likely need to be maintained at 2 to 8 degrees Celsius (35.6 to 46.4 degrees Fahrenheit) throughout the shipping process. Some newer technologies could require more advanced freezers that can keep them at a frigid minus 80 degrees Celsius. Any deviation can ruin the shots.”

There’s also the factor of uncertainty. With this current, unprecedented situation (at least in modern times), many officials aren’t sure what to expect, thereby making preparation difficult and extremely challenging. The saving grace is that there’s still time before a vaccine is released. 

Unfortunately, supply chains across the world have been facing challenges just like this since March. In fact, Forbes recently reported that “visibility, agility, and resiliency” are the most important factors supply chains must take into account in order to thrive in this new normal. 

If you’re currently experiencing challenges within your supply chain like so many organizations due to recent disruptive events, there’s hope. We’ve developed a tool called Syncrofy for Supply Chain (SSC). It’s a powerful, cloud-based data visibility platform that breaks down barriers across your supply chain and enables you to consolidate information that’s scattered throughout multiple systems, making it accessible for all users in all departments and making it your single source of truth.

SSC empowers you to make smarter, better-informed decisions while prioritizing the initiatives which will have the most impact on revenue or cost savings. 

Here’s just some of the key functionality our clients love:

  • See the full order lifecycle in one place, from purchase order through to invoice
  • Calculate fill rate and lead time for both orders and shipments, in total and for each line item
  • Connect, collaborate, and solve discrepancies across departments and with suppliers and partners
  • Easily analyze trends to compare suppliers on key metrics 

Interested in seeing Syncrofy in action? Sign up for a complimentary demo today!

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