CEVA and FedEx leverage expertise to help Ebola response
FedEx and CEVA have both been using their expertise to aid Ebola stricken countries in west Africa in recent weeks.
CEVA, one of the world's leading supply chain management companies, airlifted more than 70 tonnes of urgent supplies to Monrovia, Liberia on 10 October to assist in ongoing efforts to combat the West Africa Ebola outbreak.
The airlift was chartered by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the lead government agency coordinating US Ebola response efforts which has been working to expand the pipeline of medical equipment and supplies to the region.
Included in the shipment were infrared thermometers, disinfectant backpack sprayers, tents, and plastic fencing to be used in the construction of Ebola treatment units. The supplies were sourced by USAID from multiple locations around the world and delivered to CEVA Charter Services at Liege Airport in Belgium.
From there, CEVA loaded the cargo onto a Global Africa Cargo MD-11 freighter aircraft for a direct flight to the Liberian capital of Monrovia.
CEVA Logistics Corporate Account Manager, Marc Burgard, said: "This was a really important charter, and we were honoured to have been able to play a part in the Ebola response.
"There were several challenges along the way because of the diverse locations of the items involved, the urgency of the job and the number of time zones concerned, but the charter arrived safely in Liberia.”
FedEx also teamed up with USAID and numerous humanitarian organisations including Heart to Heart, Direct Relief, Project Concern International and AirLink to move much needed medical materials to Monrovia, Liberia, an area heavily affected by the Ebola virus.
The 140-plus pallets of relief supplies included everything from surgical masks and safety glasses to thermometers and syringes, most of which were donated to the International Medical Corps (IMC) in Liberia to support the launch of Ebola mobile treatment centres.
FedEx leveraged its global network of logistics expertise to move the supplies by truck and by plane from the United States to Europe as part of a special donated shipment. From there, the shipment was moved via third party carrier to its final destination in Liberia.
In additional to the supplies donated to the IMC for Ebola relief, FedEx also assisted in moving 650 gallons of donated hand sanitizer on behalf of Direct Relief to the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare in Liberia. This amount will supply 20 clinics for up to a month.
FedEx said in a statement it is proud to be a part of this effort to help prevent the spread of the Ebola virus and to ensure those in need receive the proper medical care. FedEx has long-standing relationships with relief organizations around the world. Through these relationships, FedEx is able to assist in situations like this to ship large amounts of supplies to those impacted the most.
Will Public Procurement Budgets Increase in 2021?
Procurement is more than just a private enterprise. COVID-19 reminded us that sourcing materials is an essential part of the government’s role. Throughout 2022, tiny departments sourced massive amounts of personal protective equipment (PPE), medical supplies, and emergency vaccines and testing kits. Even non-procurement professionals were pulled into the fray, as frantic timelines demanded nothing less.
According to Celeste Frye, co-founder and CEO of Public Works Partners, the crisis brought procurement to the attention of skilled employees who had never considered it. As non-procurement personnel stepped up to help their coworkers, many found that they’d stumbled upon a critical and rewarding job. “Existing public employees have seen the essential nature of the work”, Frye said. “[They’ve] gained some critical skills and possibly [grown] interested in pursuing procurement as a longer-term career”.
Small, Local Suppliers Take Charge
Frye, whose firm helps organisations engage stakeholders and develop long-term procurement strategies, thinks it well worth the effort to open one’s mind to new opportunities. Cooperative contracts, for instance, can help public departments and municipalities save money, time, and effort. By joining together with other towns or cities in the region, public procurement teams aggregate their purchasing power and can drive better deals.
These cooperative contracts have the added benefit of advancing equity. Smaller suppliers that struggle to compete with established firms for government contracts can act as subcontractors, helping big suppliers fulfil bits of the project. Once they get their foot in the door, small, local, and disadvantaged suppliers can then leverage that government relationship to take on additional projects.
Especially as governments start to pay attention to procurement resilience, public procurement departments must expand their requests for proposals (RFPs) to take into account innovative solutions and diverse suppliers. According to Frye, Public Works Partners—a certified female-owned firm—has benefitted from local and state requirements that specify diversity.
Post-Pandemic Funding Swells Procurement Budgets
And the pandemic won’t be the end of it. City governments need to build sustainable energy infrastructure such as solar panels, charging stations, and recycling plants, ensure that masks and medicines are never in short supply, and source new technologies to keep up with cloud and cybersecurity concerns.
Public procurement budgets will likely increase to match demand. As Peter Ware, Partner and Head of Government at Browne Jacobson, explained, “in a non-pandemic world, the [U.K.] government spends on average around £290 billion on outsourced services, goods, and works...anywhere between 10% and 14% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Post-pandemic, city procurement will only increase as national governments provide local divisions with emergency funding.
And in truth, government employees might jump at the opportunity. Frye noted that public procurement could give immediate feedback on new programmes: “[Procurement] is where new laws and policies ‘hit the road’ and are implemented”, she said. “Professionals in these fields get the satisfaction of creating real change and seeing quantifiable outcomes of their work”.