Emerging trends in procuring PPE and other essential materials
The COVID-19 pandemic caused many institutions to rethink their procurement processes. District leaders have faced an especially daunting challenge – to uphold changing guidelines, plan for numerous contingencies and manage budgets.
Here’s a quick guide highlighting what district administrators need to know about procuring PPE for schools.
School risk management will now include provisions for PPE and other essential supplies.
A PPE supply chain risk assessment can provide new insight into your district’s ability to meet demand, and uncover any challenges that may come up when procuring PPE.
Greater collaboration and communication across departments is necessary.
Maintenance, administration, faculty and other departments must collaborate with one another to assess what’s needed, and when. When it comes to school procurement, proactive communication saves time and money. We recommend having procurement processes outlined in an easy-to-understand plan that every employee can access. Alignment early on creates ownership and emphasizes accountability.
Shift to a safety and health-driven supply chain.
Education, manufacturing and other industries can reference hospitals, clinics and other institutions to create procurement processes that prioritize health and safety.
Thinking beyond face masks.
When supply shock hits like it did in spring 2020, commodity items are likely to experience shortages and disruptions. In addition to PPE, an inventory of other essential items, like hand sanitizer, disinfectant, soap, towels, no-touch dispensers, and cleaning equipment, should be kept.
Diversify sources of supplies.
One of the key lessons we learned from the COVID-19 crisis is the failure in the conventional supply chain approach of consolidating suppliers to get the best prices. Because traditional sources may not always be able to deliver what you need, diversifying suppliers is critical. Additionally, you may want to research the country of origin for suppliers, as geographical location can impact their ability to deliver.
In summary, focus on resiliency, agility and innovation.
Diversifying suppliers, streamlining processes and remaining flexible are crucial ingredients for successfully procuring PPE. Take the pandemic as an opportunity to rethink your procurement process and identify new opportunities.
For more actionable advice, view our recent webinar: Lessons Learned from COVID-19 School Closures and PPE Supply Chain Integration Strategies.