NHS Supply Chain during COVID-19
Across England and Wales, the NHS Supply Chain manages the del ivering, sourcing and supply of products, services and food regarding healthcare. The supply chain extends to customers more importantly now than ever whilst keeping the overall advantages of lower costs, improved quality control and improved risk mitigation.
With over 800 suppliers, the NHS Supply Chain manages more than 4.5 million orders per year from 94,000 order points and 15,000 locations.
Due to the current pandemic, the NHS Supply Chain has been challenged now more than ever. As PPE has been proven to stop the spread of the virus, the demand for face masks, face shields and gowns for medical staff and patients has increased and now the general public are in demand of PPE.
Clipper Logistics is working along side the NHS Supply Chain with help from the armed forces to regularly push essential PPE supplies to every NHS Trust in England.
The NHS have stated that since February 25th 2020 they have supplied at least 654 million items using a new operating ‘push’ model which supplies PPE based on the expected number of patients at each given time. This model is expected to change once the demand for PPE levels out and the flow of goods is then based on demand to each NHS Trust.
image sourced by: gov.uk
The future of NHS Supply Chain
In May 2020, a new Regional Distribution Centre in Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk has been completed and opened on schedule. The building will be occupied by one of the NHS Supply Chain’s logistic provider, . This is one of many buildings that is designed to provide additional support for future growth in the healthcare supply chain transformation journey.
The future of supply chain is not only limited to the United Kingdom but it is a global effort as The Department of International Trade has developed a global network of distributing PPE to increase efficiency. These efforts are made in an attempt to improve product development, the movement and storage of PPE as well as improving the production and distribution
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”.