Investopedia gives this definition for understanding supply chains, “A supply chain encompasses a series of steps involved to get a product or service to the end-user. The steps include moving and transforming raw materials into finished products, transporting those products, and distributing them to said end-user.”

An effective risk management strategy can help identify and prevent possible disruptions.

With the ever-growing threat of foreign intervention, supply & demand concerns, as well as economic uncertainty, supply chains for medical stocks, food, and raw materials are susceptible to disruption – whether through theft, counterfeiting, or even destruction. A current high-risk situation is the delivery of the COVID-19 vaccine.

How will your supply chain handle risk management during these uncertain times?

No matter your opinion regarding its effectiveness or whether or not to receive the vaccine, there are questions about the safety and security of transporting it to its final Point of Distribution (POD) – not to mention securing it after it arrives. Using our COVID example, once the vaccine is developed and produced, the process is to load it onto subzero freezer trucks for transport to receiving areas – where state health agencies take custody of the shipment. The vaccine is then sent to predetermined, county-level staging areas (Nodes) and, from there, assigned to a designated site for distribution to the population. These mass dispensing sites can be anything from a hospital or urgent care center to a local pharmacy or school. These sites are where security becomes the most significant concern.

While federal and state law enforcement agencies closely monitor the transportation piece – where the number of vehicles is relatively limited, how can we manage security when dispensing sites can potentially number in the thousands? It is unrealistic that local law enforcement has the capacity to provide the personnel required.

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