In the past few months, COVID-19 has turned the world upside down. This pandemic puts people at risk for serious illness and taxes our supply chains. My heart goes out to all the people and families in the throes of this disease and to the brave caregivers and the “hands that supply the hands that heal.”
We have been talking to Supply Chain leaders across the U.S. in the past few weeks and published research about the early response in Western Washington (Initial Lessons From Healthcare Supply Chain Leaders in Meeting COVID-19 Demand). In talking with these leaders, a number of common challenges are apparent. Also visible is the large chasm between those health systems with a connected, intentional supply chain response and those without. Every supply chain is working long days to address the crisis but talent, investment and foundational capabilities make the hard work more productive. It seems every health system has pockets of maturity/excellence and also points of unique concern. Sharing best practices on what is working and not working is the common refrain of what helps most. Having led Gartner’s supply chain innovation research, it is also inspiring to see the role of innovation in filling critical gaps.
COVID-19 is humbling. And at this time, our focus has turned to helping organizations as much as we can right now in the “Medium Term” (see figure 1) answering the question: “What can health systems do now to best serve their caregivers and patients.” Many health systems are doing these things already. To those systems we say “keep sharing your best practices.” To those that are not, our message is you don’t have to go at this alone. Whether you are a Gartner client or not, I recommend accessing this free resource that provides a collection of Gartner resources on how to protect your people, maintain operations and sustain your organization during the pandemic and beyond https://www.gartner.com/en/insights/coronavirus
For the next few weeks, we will focus our efforts on sharing specific, actionable learnings related to the COVID-19 response. These include leadership and communications, supply, demand, business continuity, and labor issues. We intend to use blogs, podcasts, and special interest group presentations to bring the best supply chain insights to you.
Collaboration is paramount in the face of COVID-19. Collaboration plays to the strengths of healthcare supply chain leaders who have historically shared unselfishly for the greater good. We hope to advance what is possible in the middle-term with an eye toward longer-term preparation.