Supply and demand: Recognizing Supply Chain’s innovative responses to COVID-19
In early- to mid-March, when the very first COVID-19 cases were confirmed in Michigan, many had just begun to prepare and stock up for the uncertainty that was to follow. Michigan Medicine, however, had been preparing for the effects of the crisis months prior in a diligent and proactive move by the organization’s Supply Chain team.
“We started preparing in January, as initial threats of a global impact were beginning to appear,” said Janet Abbruzzese, director of Supply Chain Strategy and Procurement. “We quickly started reviewing inventory with our vendors and suppliers to ensure adequate personal protection equipment would be available.”
Indeed, despite their work behind-the-scenes, Supply Chain staff members have proven themselves to be a vital cog in the organization’s daily operations.
Here’s a quick (and not nearly exhaustive) rundown of all the ways Supply Chain has kept Michigan Medicine — and the community at large — safe during COVID-19:
- Gathering supplies: In response to a global shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE), Supply Chain helped create the ongoing donation drive, which began in March fueled by the community’s desire to support Michigan Medicine. The team partnered with the Quality Department, medical students and various internal and external partners to collect tens of thousands of gloves, masks and protective gear for Michigan Medicine health care workers and food and toiletries for underserved community members through donations to Food Gatherers.
- Monitoring inventory: Supply Chain has also worked with data teams from Health Information Technology & Services (HITS) to build a dashboard used to track and plan inventory purchases in a more in-depth and robust way.
- Masked heroes: Partnerships with Infectious Disease, Infection Prevention and the CSPD department resulted in a successful method of reprocessing and reusing N95 masks, which are critical to protecting front-line health care workers. The College of Engineering has supported by testing various masks and N95s. Labs also used 3D printers to make face shields.
- Vetting products: The team has worked hard to find safe substitutes or alternatives for protective equipment that may not be readily available. For instance, there was recently a national shortage of pre-moistened antiseptic wipes. In an effort to provide continuity of supply, individuals from across Supply Chain and the Quality Department, along with medical students came together to fill spray bottles with antiseptic.
- A worldwide effort: As the result of strong partnerships with hospitals and universities in China, Michigan Medicine has been able to receive generous amounts of supplies from there as well.
“We are extremely grateful for the generosity we have received both internally among Michigan Medicine health care workers, and externally, whether from our partners in China or community members just down the street,” said Abbruzzese. “I am incredibly proud of our collective efforts to keep the health system stocked and safe.”
Click through the photo gallery above to see a number of Supply Chain team members in action over the past few months. And thank you to everyone in the department for all you are doing!