May 17, 2020

Obama talks supply chain risk management

Supply Chain Digital
Risk Management
Supply Chain Manageme
Risk Management
Freddie Pierce
2 min
The topic of supply chain risk management continues to be discussed, with U.S. President Barack Obama stepping in to offer his thoughts on the subject
Its nice to see supply chain take a prominent stage in global political discussions, and things hit a crescendo today when United States President Bara...

It’s nice to see supply chain take a prominent stage in global political discussions, and things hit a crescendo today when United States President Barack Obama talked about his concerns surrounding the global supply chain.

Not surprisingly, those concerns were centered on supply chain risk management, which has become a topic of hot discussion in 2012.

“We have seen that disruptions to supply chains caused by natural disasters – earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions – and from criminal and terrorist networks seeking to exploit the system or use it as a means of attack can adversely impact global economic growth and productivity,” Obama said in a letter dated Jan. 23 and released today by the White House.

“As a nation, we must address the challenges posed by these threats and strengthen our national and international policies accordingly.”


Report: 70% chance of 7.0 Tokyo quake in next four years

Thailand flooding supply chain breakdown

Check out January’s issue of Supply Chain Digital!

Last year saw some of the worst natural disasters in recent memory, starting with the 9.0 earthquake and subsequent tsunami that rocked Japan in March. Thailand flooding late in the summer also brought pressure among auto and electronic component manufacturers who were already hurting from the Japan disaster.

The global logistics world was also hurt by the Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcanic eruption in Chile, which disrupted shipping in Latin America.

Obama’s plan for further supply chain risk management has been directed to department officials, who will meet with state, federal and international government agencies to find ways to safeguard against disruptions.

Will Obama follow through on his promise? Only time will tell. The only thing certain is that natural disasters will happen again, and it’s up to supply chain managers around the world to learn from 2011 and be better prepared.

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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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