South African supply chain event offers skill development
This year’s annual conference from professional association SAPICS promises sought-after skills development to supply chain professionals without organizations having to cope with long periods of absence.
Describing supply chain professionals as an ‘increasingly sought after resource’, a statement released by the professional association SAPICS claims that this year’s industry event will keep professionals’ skills ‘current in an industry subject to continuous change’, offering companies that don’t have the resources to pay for absences and skills development training an avenue to develop their employees.
“Supply chain departments and their staff are vital to the day-to-day operations of any organisation—and yet they also need to spend time on staying abreast of new technologies, standards and best practices from around the world,” says Liezl Smith, president of SAPICS.
“The SAPICS annual conference offers a way for these valuable professionals to hear leading international experts in the field, benefit from case studies and network with fellow professionals all within a two-and-a-half-day timeframe: it’s literally everything a supply chain professional needs to stay on top of his or her game each year,” says Smith.
SAPICS is a professional association dedicated to helping organisations and individuals improve operational performance through supply chain education, certification and knowledge-sharing. Closely allied with key global supply chain organisations such as the Institute of Business Forecasting, APICS (The Association for Operations Management), the Supply Chain Council, the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport South Africa and the South African Shippers Council, SAPICS have a large network to share information through.
This year’s conference is structured around the theme Design for change: ‘Supply chain solutions for a dynamic world’.
Focusing on African Issues
This year’s conference will cover broad trends affecting the profession, like enterprise mobility, as well as industry-specific issues. There will also be a focus on peculiarly South African issues such as, for example, the impact of the AIDS pandemic on the logistics industry.
“AIDS has decimated the most skilled cadre of drivers on whom the industry should be relying. In this case, the ability to get drivers trained and operational quickly is a competitive advantage.” said SAPICS Director Terry O’Donoghue.
“The business environment itself is changing rapidly, as is the technology that it uses—with big implications for supply chains,” he continued. “How does one build supply chains that embrace that change and create new sources of competitive advantage for our organisations?”
The SAPICS annual conference, Design for change, will take place on 2-4 June 2013 at Sun City.
DHL Claim Multi-Sector Collaboration Key to Fighting COVID
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.
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.