DHL, McKinsey new paper on delivery of COVID-19 vaccine
As first emergency use authorisations for COVID-19 vaccines are expected to be effective during the final quarter of 2020, logistics providers are anticipated to increasingly establish medical supply chains to deliver serums of unparalleled amounts of over 10 billion doses globally.
There are currently over 250 vaccines across seven platforms being developed and trialled. As COVID-19 vaccines have leapfrogged development phases, stringent temperature requirements of up to -80°C are expected to be imposed for certain vaccines to make sure their efficacy is maintained during transportation and warehousing. This will mean novel logistics challenges to the existing medical supply chain that conventionally distributes vaccines at -2–8°C. In the whitepaper, DHL evaluates how the transport of vaccines as a highly temperature-sensitive product can be managed effectively to combat the further spread of the virus. The scope of this task is significant: to provide global coverage of COVID-19, up to 200,000 pallet shipments and 15 million deliveries in cooling boxes, as well as 15,000 flights will be required across the various supply chain set-ups.
“The COVID-19 crisis emerged with an unprecedented breadth and impact. It required governments, businesses, and the logistics industry alike to adapt quickly to new challenges. As a world leader in logistics, we want to share our experience of operating during one of the biggest health crises in recent history, in order to develop strategies in an ever-more connected world”, explains Katja Busch, Chief Commercial Officer DHL. “To protect lives against the pandemic, governments have moved towards a more active role in medical supply chains. Over the past few months, we have demonstrated that sufficient planning and appropriate partnerships within the supply chain can play a key role as governments work to secure critical medical supplies during health emergencies such as this.”
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the demand for medical supplies has accelerated considerably. UNICEF sourced 100 times more face masks and 2,000 times more medical gloves than in 2019. Bringing medical supplies from their distant sources to use at the frontline has one of the most crucial activities in pandemic response management in the initial phase of the health emergency. For PPE specifically, inbound logistics were a major challenge because of geographically concentrated production, limited airfreight capacity and a lack of inbound quality checks. To ensure stable medical supply in a future health crisis, a comprehensive setup of public health crisis strategies and structures must be created by governments with partnerships from both public and private sectors.
Pandora and IBM digitise jewellery supply chain
Pandora has overhauled its global supply chain in partnership with IBM amid an ecommerce sales boom for its hand-finished jewellery.
The company found international success offering customisable charm bracelets and other personalised jewellery though its chain of bricks and mortar retail destinations. But in 2020, as the COVID-19 outbreak forced physical stores to close, Pandora strengthened its omnichannel operations and doubled online sales.
A focus on customer experience included deploying IBM’s Sterling Order Management, increasing supply chain resiliency and safeguarding against disruption across the global value chain.
Pandora leverages IBM Sterling Order Management as the backbone it its omnichannel fulfilment, with Salesforce Commerce Cloud powering its ecommerce. Greater automation across its channels has boosted the jeweller’s sustainability credentials, IBM said, streamlining processes for more efficient delivery. It has also given in-store staff and virtual customer service representatives superior end-to-end visibility to better meet consumer needs.
Jim Cruickshank, VP of Digital Development & Retail Technology, Pandora, said the digital transformation journey has brought “digital and store technology closer together and closer to the customer”, highlighting how important the customer journey remains, even during unprecedented disruption.
"Our mission is about creating a personal experience and we've instituted massive platform changes with IBM Sterling and Salesforce to enable new digital-first capabilities that are much more individualised, localised and connected across channels and markets,” he added.
Pandora’s pivot to digital
The pandemic forced the doors closed at most of Pandora’s 2,700 retail locations. To remain competitive, it pivoted to online retail. Virtual queuing for stores and virtual product trials via augmented reality (AR) technology went someway to emulating the in-store experience and retail theatre that is the brand’s hallmark. Meanwhile digital investments in supply chain efficiency was central to delivering on consumer demand.
“Consumer behaviour has significantly shifted and will continue to evolve with businesses needing to quickly adapt to new preferences and needs,” said Kareem Yusuf, General Manager, AI Applications and Blockchain, IBM. “To address this shift, leading retailers like Pandora rely on innovation to increase their business agility by enabling and scaling sustainable supply chain operations using AI and cloud.”
Yusuf said Pandora’s success was indicative of how to remain competitive by “finding new ways to create differentiated customer experiences that protect their enterprises from disruptions to help mitigate risk and accelerate growth”.