Supply Tech: INSIGHT'S new supply chain suite
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INSIGHT President Dr. Jeff Karrenbauer can’t help but chuckle at some company’s approach to supply chain management technology.
“I’ve been in the supply chain advanced analytics business since 1978, so my response to IBM and their current initiative is ‘Welcome to the club, guys, we wrote the book,’” Karrenbauer said.
In keeping with the company’s approach to being at the forefront of supply chain management technology, INSIGHT has introduced a new set of programs that add value to the supply chain software industry.
“We think they meet legitimate supply chain industry needs,” Karrenbauer said.
The first of four programs is INSIGHT’s Inside Supply Chain Optimizer (SAILS) program, which is a new version of the company’s flagship program.
The network design tool and supply chain strategy tool incorporates just about everything in the supply chain, starting with where suppliers should plant their business.
“We look at it comprehensively and include everything in the supply chain,” Karrenbauer said of the SAILS program.
The second program is an add-on of the SAILS program and is a real breakthrough in the supply chain software industry. The Inside Enterprise Optimizer (IEO), adds marketing strategy to the equation, which Karrenbauer feels is a game-changer.
“Nobody has pulled this off before,” Karrenbauer said of the inclusion of marketing into a supply chain network design program. “It fully integrates marketing and supply chain at a truly optimum level. Now you don’t just have a supply chain strategy, you have a corporate strategy.”
The company’s third program is also new, and is called the Transportation Optimizer (ITO). The program uses a day-by-day supply chain simulation, focusing on transportation costs, and can show inefficiencies and problems within a company’s transportation service.
“This thing is the most aggressive shipment planning/consolidator in the business,” Karrenbauer said.
INSIGHT’s final program is called the Bid Optimizer (IBO), a package that handles bid types ranging from simple to complex packages, and can sort through thousands of bids based on criteria a user plugs in.
“Some companies receive thousands of bids on a project, and while there are usually only 100 or so that are worth going through, this program identifies that group of 100 qualifying bids,” Karrenbauer said. “You can’t do this in a normal spreadsheet.”
The four programs are all designed to fit in with the direction of the global supply chain, which is using more software design tools now more than ever.
“The trend is to look holistically at global supply chains, and the ideal tool for that is a network design tool, because it can look at everything,” Karrenbauer said.
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.