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ASCM Insights

Gauge Where Your Supply Chain Stands to Protect Its Future


With billions of COVID-19 vaccines desperately needed, any issues related to distribution and logistics issues will be problematic, if not life-threatening. Yet, according to the International Air Transport Association, 25% of vaccines are spoiled before arriving at their destination as a result of poor shipping procedures. Currently, losses from vaccines that have been exposed to temperatures outside the proper limits equal about $34.1 billion every year.

“The cold chain needs to be prepared for the onslaught of vaccines shipping around the world,” writes Deborah Abrams Kaplan for Supply Chain Dive. “It’s not an easy task, given the number of transfer points from manufacturing to administration sites.” She adds that, while the exact specifications of any impending COVID-19 vaccine are not yet known, every vaccine is a cold chain product.

Clearly, the logistics companies that will ultimately take on transportation responsibility have a lot of work ahead of them. Now is the time to invest in digital tools and technologies, particularly tracking and monitoring sensors for pallets, cases and units that can provide real-time temperature tracking data.

“Without sensors, there’s no understanding of what happens to the temperature once the pharmaceutical materials leave the labs or manufacturing facilities,” Kaplan notes. “Traditional data logger technology collects data, but by the time someone looks at it, it may be too late.”

Measuring maturity

The pandemic has underscored the need for organizations of all kinds to invest in supply chain capabilities and related technologies. Future success is inexorably linked to a company’s ability to perform and advance — especially in times of disruption.

As industry professionals strive to maintain robust, agile networks as they emerge from COVID-19, being able to measure current capabilities as well as limitations is more essential than ever before. With this in mind, ASCM has officially launched a free, cloud-based supply chain maturity model. The assessment uses compelling data visualization to drive ongoing improvements, organize and prioritize changes, identify constraints as they emerge, and advance overall supply chain performance. The maturity model also teaches team members how to plan and collaborate more effectively with partner organizations for sustainable results.

Notably, the solution is based on ASCM’s game-changing Global Health Supply Chain Maturity Model (GHSC MM), which is generously funded by a three-year grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Currently in action in Kenya, Nigeria and Senegal, 136 facilitators have been trained so far to help with assessments at the regional, sub-regional and national levels.

With these qualified facilitators in place, 233 assessments have been conducted in 32 African countries to date. The scope of assessment includes national central medical stores, regional supply chains and specific site evaluations. The result is greater visibility into the availability of vaccines, essential medicines and related supplies across the national health system. Importantly, the GHSC MM is also being used to advance African health care supply chains’ response to COVID-19. This will bring about improved access to life-saving products and better outcomes overall.

The GHSC MM provides a road map to supply chain gaps and opportunities for improvement, whether in a developing region or an established market. Maturity models are based on the premise that achieving overall supply chain excellence requires many, small steps of continuous improvement. Take your first step today with the free Maturity Model assessment.

About the Author

Abe Eshkenazi, CSCP, CPA, CAE CEO, ASCM

Abe Eshkenazi is chief executive officer of the Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM), the largest organization for supply chain and the global pacesetter of organizational transformation, talent development and supply chain innovation. During his tenure, ASCM has significantly expanded its services to corporations, individuals and communities. Its revenue has more than doubled, and the association successfully completed three mergers in response to both heightened industry awareness and the vast and ongoing global impact driven by supply chains. Previously, Eshkenazi was the managing director of the Operations Consulting Group of American Express Tax and Business Services. He may be contacted through

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