Challenging, rewarding, defying the impossible: Building a supply chain network to deliver PPE to the front line.

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Building a supply chain network to deliver PPE to the front line.

I’ve just finished a 14-week spell working to build a network to deliver #PPE to the @NHS. I can honestly say it was the hardest yet most rewarding job I have had in 40 years of a varied #supplychain and #logistics career; but still nowhere near as challenging as the front-line roles we were supporting; doctors, cleaners, carers and nurses.

It started during the last week of March, when a small team from @Hatmill established themselves in an almost deserted distribution centre in Northamptonshire alongside @ClipperLogistics team and joined subsequently by a small team from the @MOD.
Our mutual objective was to set up a network, as quickly as possible, dedicated solely to the provision of Personal Protective Equipment (#PPE) to the front line of the @NHS.
Immediately, we agreed one, single, unifying vision: “The front-line must never have to think about PPE”. An uncompromising, almost impossible objective, but one that served to remind us all our hugely important purpose, especially in times of difficulty. I genuinely believe this #vision enabled the different teams to coalesce around a single, perhaps higher goal, avoiding some of the operational and relationship difficulties experienced in rapid start up organisations. There always was a tangible sense of One Team.

By responding and mobilising an experienced team quickly, we were able to deliver improvements and create a great outcome for the client. What could we do for you?

A small, operationally experienced Hatmill team managing the initial relationships

The operation commenced with “normal” receipts, but soon, as PPE was being sourced from all corners of the globe, we were receiving new products daily, all of which required approval and authorisation before we were prepared to release them into the front line. @Hatmill and our @MOD colleagues led the way in developing New Product and Quality Assurance functions, liaising closely with the appropriate bodies and Clipper staff in the operation.

Some products were in short supply at times, and required rapid turnaround and dispatch, not simple when many receipts were from new suppliers. Clipper’s #transportoperation worked closely with the NHS’s National Supply Disruption Response team to arrange and effect emergency deliveries through the day and overnight, 7 days a week, until the inventory situation improved.

As stock continued to build, additional facilities were brought online to ensure whatever was needed was available. We now have several sites holding PPE throughout the country, prepared for any eventuality.

Having a small, operationally experienced Hatmill team managing the initial relationships with the NHS, DHSC and PHE enabled Clipper to focus on the rapid start up required to maintain supply to the front line. From a standing start, the Hatmill team not only developed the New Product and QA processes with the MOD, but also refined the Demand Management system and enhanced the ever-changing reporting suites while supporting the day to day operation. All this while working at least 12 hour days, 6 or 7 times a week.

I am immensely proud of playing a small part in what was achieved. I am also honoured to have served the greatest institution that exists across our four nations.

If there is to be a positive from all the suffering and disruption caused by #Covid19, it must be this; if anyone had even the slightest doubt about the importance and value of the NHS before, they now appreciate the criticality and worth of the unique organisation that is our NHS.

Thank you to the NHS for the opportunity to assist. Thank you to the teams at both Hatmill and Clipper Logistics for an incredibly challenging but unbelievably rewarding three months.

#hiddenheros #letsworktogether

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