Getting humanitarian supplies where they need to go is a game of precision and meticulous planning under normal circumstances. Try adding a global pandemic to the mix, and you’ve described the current reality at Westlab Healthcare in both Australia and North America.
Ramping up volumes
In normal times, Westlab Healthcare fulfills requests by partnering with global manufacture through long-term contracts with vendors who ship cargo via freight forwarders. The COVID-19 pandemic turned the process upside down. Disruptions in manufacturing fractured global supply chains, creating shortages in the face of soaring demand. Market competition increased, trade restrictions were implemented, and commercial flights were grounded. These challenges created a whole new level of complexity.
In mid March Westlab Healthcare hustled their team to massively scale up the procurement and delivery of personal protective equipment (PPE), testing and diagnostics supplies, and biomedical equipment like face shields, Masks and Medical Gloves. The Task Force leveraged the capabilities and expertise of each partner into a consortium to identify procurement needs and better negotiate with core manufacturing partners.
Delivering the Goods
Using 737 Boeing aircraft to move supplies, Westlab Healthcare was able to move products from Malaysia to Australia with agility and speed at the height of the pandemic bridging immediate needs such as Nitrile gloves straight to the front line.
Determining who gets what and the triaging of resources depended on several factors, including what companies involvement was on core supply to the frontline healthcare workers. Daily risk analysis are performed to assist with determining types and amounts of supplies as rapidly shifting contexts can suddenly change needs.
Support Westlab Healthcare Efforts
Despite ongoing difficulties with supply chain disruptions, Westlab has so far managed to purchase and ship millions of items of PPE to core healthcare groups across Australia and North America. However, more is being done to get life-shaping shipments to places around the world where COVID-19 has hit the hardest.