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ASCM Insights

ASCM and ASM Partner to Conquer Constraints

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I’m proud to tell you that ASCM has partnered with the American Society of Microbiologists (ASM) to develop a data-collection platform that streamlines the path between people in need and COVID-19 tests — and, eventually, vaccines. The tool provides a near-real-time visualization into the capacity, use and resources necessary to meet consumer and patient demand for testing.

Unfortunately, the platform has made it clear that we still have a lot of work to do. To date, 117 U.S. clinical laboratories have reported running at an average of only 41% of testing capacity. And even with recent ramp-ups, these scarcities continue to cause bottlenecks in nearly every aspect of test production: chemical reagents, swabs, sterile containers and more.

Meanwhile, a ripple effect is upsetting the production of tests for more common illnesses, such as strep throat, pneumonia and bronchitis. In fact, 65% of labs have a shortage of non-COVID-19 testing supplies.

“With their current supplies on-hand, the labs reported that they would be able to continue carrying out routine testing for bacterial diseases for an average of nearly nine days,” Connor Hale writes in Fierce Biotech. “Mycobacterial tests — such as for tuberculosis — were found to be scarcer, with an average of six days remaining.”

Essential global collaboration

According to our ongoing efforts with ASM, a lab can presently administer an average of 1,162 COVID-19 tests each week. However, if there were no constraints on resources, that number could be more than double.

According to the APICS Dictionary, a constraint is any element or factor that prevents a system from achieving a higher level of performance with respect to its goal. In other words, constraints obstruct the path to essential objectives.

As our work with ASM has made clear, collaboration is a proven way to remove constraints. To that end, ASCM partners with a network of world-class organizations in order to create supply chains that give customers and patients what they need:

  • With The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, we’re gathering resources and expertise in order to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. Through their generous grant, we’re implementing a sustainable operating model to improve public health supply chains and foster the advancement of end-to-end supply chain management in Africa.
  • Our partnership with the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply is making it possible to significantly improve workforce development, organizational standards and benchmarking within the procurement field.
  • In collaboration with Deloitte, ASCM produces the annual ASCM Case Competition, designed to engage and inspire the supply chain leaders of tomorrow. In addition, we’ve created the Digital Capabilities Model for supply networks. Compatible with SCOR, this model helps organizations understand the complexity of digital supply networks and assess their company’s process maturity.
  • With global management consulting firm Accenture, ASCM is working to provide an extensive, easy-to-access online study program that supports the APICS Certified in Production and Inventory Management review process.
  • And our partnership with PwC led to the development of SCORMark supply chain benchmarking services for ASCM members. PwC also lends its expertise and point of view as part of the ASCM Digital SCOR Taskforce.

Our collective response to the constraints associated with this pandemic will only be successful if there’s global alignment. Again, we have a lot of work to do. Let’s continue collaborating to overcome constraints and create networks that make an impact across the globe.

About the Author

Abe Eshkenazi, CSCP, CPA, CAE CEO, ASCM

Abe Eshkenazi is chief executive officer at ASCM, the largest nonprofit association for supply chain and the global leader in supply chain organizational transformation and innovation. Prior to this, he was the managing director for the Operations Consulting Group of American Express Tax and Business Services. His leadership roles have included project management, business process redesign, and individual and organizational alignment. Eshkenazi may be contacted through editorial@ascm.org.

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