While it’s no secret that the logistics industry has been uniquely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare supply chains have an even greater strain due to the essential nature of their frontline work. Healthcare supply chains require an elevated degree of flexibility to avoid disrupting the important work of doctors and healthcare professionals, allowing them to focus on patient care, not the supply chain. As Kenco continues to support these essential supply chains in today’s evolving environment, we want to share three key lessons learned thus far in what has been a truly unique year.

1. Prepare for the worst, hope for the best: Your continuity plan is your lifeline

Kenco is no stranger to creating an emergency response and supply chain continuity plans for its healthcare customers, but COVID-19 presented the first time we had to create a report on a global issue with immediate nationwide impacts. You don’t know what you don’t know, and this theme has persisted in 2020 as states continue to respond differently to the industry’s shared challenges. These difficulties have included transportation service hours, PPE effectiveness, and access restrictions to hospitals via social distancing guidelines.

At the beginning of the pandemic, Kenco assembled a corporate response team – which continues to meet daily – to discuss the global environment and how to remain compliant with states’ evolving standards/regulations. This rapid response group’s ability to synthesize and report back on real-time information has been critical to Kenco’s success and made our customers, partners, and employees confident that we have our finger on the pulse of the industry.

2. Embracing technology evolves your processes

While doing things the way they’ve always been done may be the easiest and least disruptive way to keep operations moving, true innovation and evolution are most often realized when stepping outside the box to try something new.

Kenco’s white glove healthcare services typically have unparalleled access to healthcare facilities, moving past receiving docks and into patient care areas to help unpackage and install essential equipment. This access was restricted early in the pandemic, causing traditionally paper-heavy processes requiring physical signatures and manual document scanning to transition to fully digital transactions. Having to adapt to these challenges has reimagined our healthcare supply chain’s proof of delivery processes, which will be continued in the future due to  streamlined workflows and increased efficiency.

3. Arming your workforce with the right tools increases morale and productivity

While we’ve always understood that our workforce’s role is vital to Kenco’s success and longevity, it’s been nothing short of amazing to witness the resilience and determination of our drivers and warehouse workers who continue to swiftly adapt to new daily challenges. From the beginning of the pandemic, Kenco has approached each day with an employee-centric mentality. This means equipping the workforce with the essential PPE – gloves, masks, sanitizers, etc. – they need to operate safely and provide peace of mind.

Our drivers – who constantly cross state and county lines – were also top of mind due to the unique challenges the nature of their work presented. Governmental orders that regulated what amenities they had access to and how they were to work could vary greatly by state, and we knew our drivers would require high degrees of autonomy and flexibility in their decision making. Through creative planning and strategic coordination, Kenco remained compliant with all DOT HOS regulations while ensuring our drivers had adequate food, lodging, and other needed resources needed. Our workforce had the tools they required to get the job done right, safely, and on time.

As the pandemic presses on, so does our commitment to ensuring supply chains carrying essential, delicate, and life-saving products and equipment continue to flow into the places and hands where they’re needed most.