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As with all types of logistics, emergency response efforts entail striking a careful balance between service and cost. The big challenge, says Bash, lies in bridging the time gap involved in getting materials to the patient. The critical nature of such programs calls for virtually 100-percent on-time delivery.
Making matters even more difficult are the heightened security measures that have been put into place in recent years. Dawson handles a lot of material for critical trials, and has had to take steps to avoid problems with customs and expedite those time-sensitive shipments.
In seeking to improve distribution models for emergency response, companies first need to engage in root-cause analysis. Dawson maintains a "safety net" for packages that encounter delays, then conducts independent analyses after the fact, in order to discover the cause of a problem and prevent its recurrence.
From its clients, Dawson requires reliable information. Shippers, Bash says, "need in-house expertise. It's their name on the shipping label." The logistics provider works closely with the customer's transportation coordinator and customer-service personnel to ensure the accurate tracking and monitoring of all shipments.
Cost is always an issue, but shippers of emergency materials can't skimp on service. That can be a difficult concept to sell to cost-conscious upper management, Bash acknowledges. But spending more up front to move a high-value package eliminates even higher costs down the line. "If it's not delivered on time," says Bash, "the loss of that value is far more than you would have spent to protect it."
Emergency response will become an even more critical capability in the future, Bash believes. Logistics plans must consider all aspects of the distribution model, making sure to include such elements as the value of the package and the need for timely delivery.
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Keywords: supply chain, supply chain management, global logistics, transportation management, emergency response logistics, supply chain planning, supply chain risk management
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