Vaccine Manufacturing & LogisticsArticle by Lisa Anderson, February 7, 2021
What could be more top of mind than the vaccine distribution to combat COVID? This was the topic of a recent Interlinks podcast on Supply Chain Innovations with a group of global supply chain experts. The panel of experts discussed vaccine distribution around the world and associated implications. Listen to our discussion and send feedback.
Operation Warp Speed has accomplished what most thought impossible. A vaccine went from 0 to approved, manufactured and in distribution within 9 months instead of multiple years. There were several key factors in making this a success: 1) Clear goal. 2) Public-private partnership. 3) Utilizing the best in class companies for each segment in the end-to-end life cycle / supply chain. 4) Reducing lead time for each step in the process. For example, manufacturing capacity and distribution capacity ramped up long before approval so we could be “off and running” rapidly. It is reminiscent of manufacturing professionals skepticism of the feasibility of accelerating new product development timelines or customer lead times of configure or engineer-to-order products to be 5 days instead of 5 months (as an example). Make the impossible possible.
Now that the vaccine is in the hands of the states, there is a WIDE difference in effectiveness thus far. It is a typical problem across clients and organizations of many sizes. Not all plants run the same way. Not all distribution networks are as efficient and effective as others. Not all people see the topic the same way. And, certainly not all states agree on the priorities for distributing the vaccine. Hot off the press, my Mom received her first dose of the vaccine in Arizona whereas my home state California has definitely struggled early on. As time goes by, the states will gain experience and ramp up.
Manufacturing is in high gear. The supply chain is ready and equipped, and the states are gaining experience. It is expected that additional vaccines such as JNJ will be approved soon. Undoubtedly, given the speed and momentum, we will be “back to a more regular routine” before we know it, driving a strong economy with pent up demand.