As world populations continue efforts to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 coronavirus impact, the United States faces its own unique set of challenges. With a severe lack of adequate testing thus far, government leaders and healthcare responders can only work towards knowledge of various scenarios for what is required to treat those that will be sickened.
This blog, and other media outlets, have called for the marshalling of all available resources to be prioritized toward healthcare delivery and food related supply chains.
Yesterday, President Trump announced consideration for activating the Defense Production Act, signed into law by President Harry Truman to mobilize domestic manufacturers to dedicate production lines to critical products deemed in the national interest. During the outbreak in China, authorities indeed initiated such actions in order to expand the availability of face masks and other critical materials. Other governments have taken similar measures.
We join the voice of various U.S. State governors and local authorities in urging the U.S. Federal Government to take such action now.
We also want to call attention to our U.S. readers to a written contribution penned by Sandor Boyson, research professor and founding co-director of the Supply Chain Management Center at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business.
This editorial, published in The Hill: 3 keys to mitigating severe supply shortages from coronavirus disruption, from our view provide a practical plan of action that deals with the given realities of this moment.
Boyson’s three described actions include:
“1) Restore global production, especially in China as quickly as possible to serve our critical industries. Right now, only China has the potential production scale to meet the soaring demand in the United States and elsewhere for such vital products as medical protective equipment, pharmaceuticals, electronics and household essentials.”
Supply Chain Matters would add that this is not the time for demonizing China in rhetoric, it is a time to candidly recognize the manufacturing capability that China can provide in a global crisis. Alibaba founder Jack Ma has already provided a generous contribution of testing kits and face masks, and should be acknowledged.
“2) Preserve the operations of supply chain hubs across the United States. Strategic command and control over critical supply chain assets is needed. This calls for a “U.S. Supply Chain Command Post” and an associated “Coronavirus War Room” to ensure business continuity at key ports, airports and highways.” Bryson elaborates on what these actions specifically mean.
“3) Ensure delivery of needed food and medical/health supplies to home-bound populations. We must quickly scale a delivery infrastructure to homebound and vulnerable populations, and to the institutions that serve them.” Bryson calls for a national “At-Home Delivery Consortium” involving major last-mile providers across the country to assist in procuring and distributing necessary networks and facilities.
In a Supply Chain Matters blog published yesterday concerning Amazon, we noted how China’s maturity in digital based last mile delivery services helped to feed quarantined populations and deliver critical supply needs at the time of most need.
Once again, we urge all to read this editorial and pass it along to those that can influence federal policy makers.
This is an extraordinary time that calls for extraordinary supply chain response and disruption mitigation measures.