Dec 17, 2020

High-stakes supply chain

The full impact of COVID-19 on supply chains is still unknown, with the most optimistic forecasts predicting normality returning at the earliest in Spring 2021. However, one thing is for certain: the economic and financial ramifications of the pandemic are being felt through supply chains across the globe.

At Yusen, we have developed and implemented supply chain risk-management and business continuity strategies based on quality-driven solutions, making us well prepared to mitigate this impact.

This has been made possible by our strong relationships with key suppliers. Besides that, we have invested in systems such as supply chain planning and control tower solutions to provide visibility across the extended supply network. This enables us to better understand the risks and anticipate supply chain issues as the basis for specific responsive actions based on our customers’ priorities. Moreover, we have developed agile, flexible and reliable distribution networks. As a result, at Yusen we can act quickly to maintain supplies in line with global demand.

While COVID-19 may be the catalyst for logistics companies to revisit their global supply chain strategy and adoption of Digital Supply Network models and capabilities, short-term actions need to be made to respond to the immediate challenge.

With millions of lives at stake and global business needing to get back to normal, we as logistics service providers need to ensure we get every detail right.

There will be a number of challenges as COVID-19 vaccines begin to be approved and the distribution starts; Yusen has identified five key challenges that require immediate action:

1.            High-stakes supply chain

2.            Maintaining temperature control

3.            Numerous uncertainties

4.            Capacity limitations

5.            Contingency, flexibility, security


The first key challenge is the complex and high-stakes supply chain that we are about to face on an unprecedented scale. The effective distribution of COVID-19 vaccines to the global population will likely be the greatest logistical challenge since World War II.

Delivery by air, which will be challenging given the shortage of air cargo capacity, can only occur to airports certified to receive pharmaceuticals, and these airports can only handle so much product at any given time.

The level of distribution required is unprecedented. For comparison, 174.5 million doses of flu vaccines were supplied to the U.S. market between September 2019 and February 2020. The U.S. government’s Operation Warp Speed (COVID) hopes to distribute 300 million doses by January 2021.

We are all aware that the new vaccines will be valuable, and security is vital. However, the greatest value will be allowing us all to get back some sort of normality, safeguarding our vulnerable family and friends and getting the economy back to normal.

Yusen has invested in a global GDP network fully aligned through one eQMS (AQua), it has invested in GDP trained experts and growing GDP trained personnel, having over 120 trained in the last month to add to its already vast number of GDP trained personnel. This is to ensure our customers’ shipments are only handled by the right people.

Moreover, we have invested in systems and tools to exceed customers’ expectations regarding future vaccine transport:

Validaide – offering full Route Risk Assessments (RRAs)

VisionI – real time GPS and temperature tracking for Road freight

Controlant – real time GPS and temperature tracking for Air and Sea freight

Yusen Vantage – full end-to-end order management

Control Tower – single point of contact and management

Additionally, we have successfully completed several quality projects including the growths of our GDP infrastructure, auditing and certifying our own facilities for air freight and growing our warehousing capabilities. As well as auditing and agreeing SLAs and SOPs with our suppliers and carriers and running a packaging project to audit all preferred packaging suppliers for temperature control shipments.

The reason we have completed this is going back to the beginning of this post “Yusen is prepared to mitigate the risk impact of a high-stakes supply chain” by having strong relationships, being able to provide visibility, understanding where the risks sit and having a control tower to be able to anticipate and respond to supply chain issues.


For more information or to request a quote, please contact Marloes Seesing, Global Head of Healthcare Industry Vertical.