COVID-19 Brings Pressure Testing to Ancillary Supplies and Equipment

by Dan Polkowski
Managing ancillary supplies and equipment in clinical trials is complex, and strict import regulations make it a tough challenge.

Managing ancillary supplies and equipment in clinical trials is complex, and strict import regulations make it a tough challenge. When the COVID-19 pandemic threw the world into the unknown, the global supply chain fell apart. In the blink of an eye, world trade came to a crawl.

As the virus became fatal to the world’s population, governments locked down borders. The hottest commodity became personal protection equipment (PPE), and procuring them became almost impossible.  Corporations sought immediate solutions for their survival. Corporate purchasing departments scrambled to be first in line to acquire the required PPE, medical ancillary supplies, and electronic and medical devices to keep their businesses afloat. The sourcing of medical commodities by global region based on the latest COVID-19 data became a true strategy to survive.

Ninety percent of global commercial airlines stopped flying. The need for cargo aircraft became a real issue and concern as PPEs filled the remaining open airlines and FedEx, UPS, and DHL aircraft.

The initial strategy

At Imperial, our focus for the first two months of the pandemic was all about increasing the level of communication and transparency with our clients and the couriers and freight services they routinely used.

In a true spirit of unity, global webinars were held by Fortune 100 companies and global transportation companies every week for the first six weeks of the pandemic. This rich source of information assisted greatly to bring understanding of the situation to everyone. Through these webinars and additional networking, we worked the solutions together to stay on top of the pandemic’s global reach. This allowed us to get supplies to their destinations.

Outcome measures

For many providers of medical ancillary supplies and equipment, the COVID-19 pandemic was an important eye opener. It revealed insecure supply chains and processes that fell short. Company re-evaluation to minimize and stop the loss of business and revenue ate up important management time, but it was time well spent. It was a true crisis for all to manage business under a new – NEW!

No time to rest

Just as the pandemic appeared out of nowhere, more issues are always right around the corner. Emergencies like blocked sea canals and regulation upheavals like Brexit make our jobs of meeting and managing global clinical trial needs interesting to say the least! These events definitely pressure-test our supply chains.

If you would like to discuss how Imperial can assist with your company’s global logistics needs, please let us know. And if would like to share your own pandemic challenges or best practices, please add a comment in the box near the bottom of this page.

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