We are in the midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic. And while much of the attention has been focused on rates of infection, outcomes, treatments, vaccines, masks, and social distancing, there has been little attention paid to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), which includes items such as; masks (of varying types), gloves, sanitizers, and other materials that can be used to help protect an individual from becoming infected with COVID-19.
In this episode of Supercharged Supply Chain, Ron and Joseph will discuss some of the challenges and perils in the PPE supply chain under the current circumstances and conditions; what some of the risks might be and some of the measures you might take to protect yourself.
Some of the topics we will discuss include;
- How the supply chain was so easily overwhelmed
- How it seems that tents (and websites) are popping up everywhere with people selling PPE, how to help identify the legitimate vendors from the illegitimate (those with good intention but lacking the capability to deliver) and those who are outright fraudsters, and some countermeasures you can take to defend yourself.
Of these two, the building robustness into the supply chain is going to take time; the producers have to ramp-up production, the regulators need to accelerate their approval process without making compromises on quality, the trade regulations need to be streamlined to allow prioritized clearance at the ports, governments need to allow orders from outside the country to be allowed to ship and not withheld for domestic use, and so on.
But of larger concern is fraud. In chaos and panic you can find people driven by greed; and COVID-19 and PPE has created a new gold-rush. There are newcomers who are trying to swing deals to take advantage of the rush and panic in the demand but are incapable of performing. There are those who are re-routing orders to fulfill other orders from people who are willing to pay more. And there are those with nefarious intent who set-up phantom companies for the sole purpose of outright defrauding companies and governments by selling product that never existed and then fade into oblivion after they have drained their accounts of their victim’s cash advances.
There is a lot of critically important and timely wisdom to be shared in this episode. And, although the primary subject is about PPE, the information shared on fraud in the supply chain is relatable to any product in any supply chain. Don’t just protect yourself, protect your business.
Some links of interest;
- United States Department of Justice; Combating COVID-19 Fraud
- United States Federal Trade Commission; Scammy PPE sellers exploit COVID-19 fears
- 3M; Fighting Respirator Fraud, Counterfeiting, and Price Gouging