Elevating the Last Mile of the Supply Chain to Support COVID Vaccinations


The rollout of multiple COVID-19 vaccinations, particularly those that require elevated cold storage ability to remain viable on their way to the person who eventually receives them, has put tremendous strain on the American supply chain.

In particular, last-mile delivery is fraught with obstacles. Fortunately, there are tools and solutions ready to answer the call.

To explore strategies for elevating the supply chain surrounding the COVID-19 vaccines and more, host Tyler Kern welcomed David Beaird, President of Beaird Supply Chain and Operational Solutions, who has more than a decade of experience in the space.

“I try to keep things very simple,” Beaird said. “When I look at any supply chain, be it a commercial supply chain, governmental supply chain – I look at it through three lenses: buy, make and move.”

Those three lenses cover sourcing and procurement, production, warehousing, and distribution, and these same concepts can be applied to the evaluation of the supply chain surrounding the COVID-19 vaccines.

Beaird said it’s been a mixed grade, so to speak, with gambles around sourcing and procurement prior to official approval paying off, but the movement of the vaccine, itself, falling short to this point.

“I’m very happy with what’s happened on the ‘get the vaccines to market’ side of the street,” Beaird said. “I’m very concerned about getting the shots in people’s arms.”

To overcome challenges surrounding cold storage, distribution and more, the state and federal governments will need to present a holistic effort at elevating the final stretch of the supply chain, particularly in hard-to-reach areas and for at-risk populations.

“The way this war is going to be won or lost is in how we treat what I call the final mile,” Beaird said.

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