May 17, 2020

The March edition of Supply Chain Digital is here

Supply Chain Digital
Supply Chain
supply chain news
Freddie Pierce
2 min
Celestica's Erwin Hermans discusses post-recession tactics
TheMarch edition of Supply Chain Digitalis hot off the digital press, just click in the top right hand corner of this page to peruse our offerings. REM...

The March edition of Supply Chain Digital is hot off the digital press, just click in the top right hand corner of this page to peruse our offerings.


It appears we have a recurring theme: the supply chain world is responding to news coming from all corners that we are exiting the global recession.

Good news, right? Time to loosen those belts and return to the good ol’ days. Well, as this edition shows, it may not be that simple...

There will be a number of difficult choices facing companies that have been successful – or not – in implementing streamlined procedures and ‘Lean’ methodology during the downturn.

Our lead article this month shows that supplier collaboration and synchronisation will be key for both camps. A return to in-house at the expense of outsourcing, while a seemingly obvious choice, may not be the answer.

It is, above all, vital that companies do not forget the lessons learnt these past seven years. The amnesia that a return to good times is wont to elicit must be avoided at all costs and as things pick up, the strong will be those that remember the fundamentals and continue to use and advance the tools and capabilities developed in the hard times.

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This issue of tools and capabilities is reflected in our analysis of a situation in air cargo, where technology at customs clearance is helping drive economic growth in emerging economies by speeding up airport clearance processes.

We then feature two industry experts’ contrasting views on best practice in procurement and take a look at Lean Sigma, discovering who should and should not be afraid of it.

Don’t forget our Top 10, this month it is supply chain associations. Some you know, others you may not.

Bring on the good times.

Joseph Wilkes


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Jun 8, 2021

DHL Claim Multi-Sector Collaboration Key to Fighting COVID

3 min
Global logistics leader DHL’s new white paper highlights what supply chain professionals have learned one year into the pandemic

Since January, global logistics leader DHL has distributed more than 200 million doses of the COVID vaccine to 120+ countries around the globe. While the US and UK recently rolled out immunisation plans to most citizens, countries with less developed infrastructure still desperately need more doses. In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which currently has one of the highest per-capita immunisation rates, the government set up storage facilities to cover domestic and international demand. But storage, as we’ve learned, is little help if you can’t transport the goods.


This is where logistics leaders such as DHL make their impact. The company built over 50 new partnerships, bilateral and multilateral, to collaborate with pharmaceutical and private sector firms. With more than 350 DHL centres pressed into service, the group operated 9,000+ flights to ship the vaccine where it needed to go. 


Public-Private Partnerships

With new pandemic knowledge, DHL just released its “Revisiting Pandemic Resilience” white paper, which examined the role of logistics and supply chain companies in handling COVID-19. As Thomas Ellman, Head of Clinical Trials Logistics at DHL, said: “The past one year has highlighted the importance of logistics and supply chain management to manage the pandemic, ensure business continuity and protect public health. It has also shown us that together we are stronger”. 


Multisector partnerships, DHL said, enabled rapid, effective vaccine distribution. While international scientists developed a vaccine in record time—five times faster than any other vaccine in history—manufacturers ramped up production and logistics teams rolled out distribution three times faster than expected. When commercial routes faced backups, logistics operators worked with military officers to transport vaccines via helicopters and boats. 


In the UAE, the public-private HOPE Consortium distributed billions of COVID-19 doses to its civilians as well as other countries in need by partnering with commercial organisations such as DHL. For the first time, apropo for an unprecedented pandemic, logistics companies made strong connections with public health and government.


“While the race against the virus continues, leveraging the power of such collaborations and data analytics will be key”, said Katja Busch, Chief Commercial Officer DHL and Head of DHL Customer Solutions & Innovation. “We need to remain prepared for high patient and vaccine volumes, maintain logistics infrastructure and capacity, while planning for seasonal fluctuations by providing a stable and well-equipped platform for the years to come”. 


How Do We Sustain Immunisation? 

By the end of 2021, experts estimate that we need approximately 10 billion doses of vaccines—many of which will be shipped to areas of the world, such as India, South Africa, and Brazil, that lack significant infrastructure. This is perhaps the greatest divide between countries that have rolled out successful immunisation programmes and those that have not. As Busch noted, “the UAE’s significant investments in creating robust air, sea, and land infrastructure facilitated logistics and vaccine distribution, helping us keep supply chains resilient”. 


Neither is the novel coronavirus a one-time affair. If predictions hold, COVID will be similar to seasonal colds or the flu: here to stay. When fall comes around each year, governments will need to vaccinate the world as quickly as possible to ensure long-term immunisation against the virus. This time, logistics companies must be better prepared. 

Yet global immunisation, year after year, is no small order. To keep reinfection rates low and slow the spread of COVID, governments will likely need 7-9 billion annual doses of the vaccine to meet that mark. And if DHL’s white paper is any judge of success, multi-sector supply chain partnerships will set the gold standard.

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