With school reopening plans dependent on personal protective equipment (PPE), district and school leaders have had to familiarize themselves with the PPE procurement process.
An article from Education Week explains, “School administrators—new to the medical supply marketplace—are now asking: ‘Which vendor has the sturdiest and most child-friendly masks?’ ‘What sizes should they be?’ ‘Who has the cheapest prices?’ ‘How much should I buy’? And complicating it all is the very real prospect that schools may have to shut down again as COVID-19 continues to spread and new outbreaks hit. That could mean spending money on gear that doesn’t get used.”
With 50 years of supply chain experience, SDI is equipped to answer these, and other questions. Using our partnership with New York’s Department of Education (NYCDOE) as an example, here’s a look at the PPE school procurement process.
First, identify what products are needed, and how much stock must be kept on hand.
Reference past supply and spend data to determine if shortages and surpluses have occurred, and how to keep a more balanced inventory moving forward. SDI’s PPE Supply Chain Risk Assessment aligns the PPE supply chain with your school’s plan to ensure a safe and healthy reopening.
Close collaboration with NYCDOE meant SDI was able to evaluate how much PPE was needed to keep New York City’s 1800+ schools operational, find and vet new suppliers and streamline procurement.
Next, work with multiple vendors.
If your school district doesn’t use a procurement technology platform, you likely rely on a select number of small or localized vendors. While this process tends to work under normal circumstances, the pandemic has exposed the faults of conventional wisdom regarding supply chain. When demand is high, it’s best to have access to a large pool of suppliers and vendors and manufacturers. This strategy not only helps with ensuring access to supplies, but also helps get it at the lowest possible cost.
SDI secured over $40 million in PPE, sanitizers and cleaning equipment to keep New York schools safe.
Finally, maintain a strategic reserve.
Surges in demand can overwhelm even the most robust inventory of supplies. Strategic reserves – inventories of backups typically held by a third-party – help school systems guarantee availability of the items they need, like PPE. We recommend collaborating with each department to determine what PPE supplies are needed, and then identify third-party partners who are able to maintain a consistent inventory.
SDI maintained a strategic reserve for NYCDOE, storing PPE and other supplies in our central warehouse and redistributing to school sites as needed.
The pandemic revealed our lack of readiness to deal with a global supply chain crisis. By understanding the PPE procurement process, you’ll be better prepared to serve students and maintain safety.
Contact us to learn more about the PPE school procurement process.