5/6 COVID-19 update and Getting Back to Work in the New Normal

Supply Chain and Courier Updates

Per our last updates, suppliers are mostly operating and processing orders.

They are still practicing physical distancing and operations are a bit slower than usual. Sales reps aren’t traveling and so are quite responsive to quote requests on the whole.

Many are still prioritizing PPE for COVID-19 response. Smaller suppliers like CP Lab Safety (they’ve shipped some of their masks day of order) or other smaller suppliers are likelier to have availability (especially masks; in general “short” lead times are around two weeks).

Keep in mind that some suppliers are considering all sales final and not accepting returns due to COVID-19.

Couriers are operating, but last mile deliveries can still be problematic. Thank delivery drivers, have clear signs that a lab is open to delivery, and let suppliers know that the lab is open and if there are any issues with a shipment, contact them to help resolve it.

The Happi Note – Getting Back to Work

HappiLabs and many of our partner labs continued to work as essential businesses during the COVID-19 shelter-in-place orders, with many working from home.

Many labs did temporarily close and may be wondering about how to resume operations as the COVID-19 physical distancing restrictions ease.

Having a plan to safely get back to work and how COVID-19 will continue to impact operations is important. For instance, one lab has masks, hand-sanitizer, gloves, and sticky floor mats at key entryways ready for scientists returning to the lab.

Several suppliers are hosting webinars aimed at this:

HappiLabs remains at work and this month will be safely and fully re-opening our offices as shelter-in-place orders are eased.

We are grateful for the worlds scientists and healthcare workers that are working to mitigate COVID-19 and helping us all get back to work in new innovative ways.

COVID19 Supply Chain Updates 4/23

Supply Chain Updates

Per our last updates, suppliers are mostly operating and processing orders.

They are still practicing physical distancing and operations are a bit slower than usual.

Many are still prioritizing PPE (especially masks; shortest lead times we’ve found are around two weeks).

Keep in mind that some suppliers are considering all sales final and not accepting returns due to COVID-19.

Courier Updates

Keep close eye on shipments. Definitely get tracking numbers and monitor them and make sure items get delivered.

FedEx and UPS are both operating, but are not guaranteeing delivery, have suspended signature requirements for delivery verification, and aren’t always re-attempting deliveries if they can’t deliver to a site.

For global freight monitoring, Agility Logistics has put together this resource.

We recommend having a sign where deliveries occur stating a lab is open for deliveries and any relevant instructions to ensure a smooth delivery.

If a shipment goes awry, contact the shipper first to see if they can resolve it.

The Happi Note

There are a few labs in the HappiLabs network working directly on COVID-19. Distributed Bio is working on a therapeutic. Octant, Inc. is developing a better detection protocol for the virus. They’re two out of many others working to help the world manage a pandemic.

Grants dedicated to COVID-19 are also out there for scientists working on it.

Rheaply has worked with Northwestern University’s Computer Science department to set up a resource exchange program for getting critical supplies where they are needed. Follow the link to register.

HappiLabs continues to operate and we are grateful for the world’s scientists who work to identify, manage, and solve the world’s problems.

COVID19 Supply Chain updates 4/8

Life sciences suppliers are still largely operational and working, albeit a bit slower than usual as they work to manage processing orders while protecting their own workers as much as possible.

PPE supplies remain tight. Gloves are more available than masks, gowns and sleeves.

Supply Chain Updates

Charles River and The Jackson Laboratory

Animal deliveries affected (via an email from Charles River):

  • As of 4/13 will not be making animal deliveries on Wednesdays in the Bay area
  • Throughout the rest of the week, they are making fewer stops along their routes.
  • Delivery times will be earlier than usual as well given their reduced delivery schedule.
  • Jax has a resources page for managing animals, including cryoperservation and pre-ordering for when labs re-open
  • Jax is also sending around a truck on April 13th and 20th in the San Francisco Bay Area if a lab wants mouse strains picked up for cryppreservation (contact jaxservices@jax.org to inquire).

VWR (could be affecting other suppliers as well)

Some suppliers are experiencing a high volume of unauthorized returns (i.e. couriers unable to deliver and returning items to sender).

  • VWR has told us they have a lot of returns they are sorting through
  • If you *need* an item you ordered, they recommend placing a new order while they sort things out.
  • As always, call the supplier to talk to the shipping compay regarding misrouted/returned packages.
  • VWR has cancelled PPE orders drop shipping from manufacturers like 3M due to high demand. 3M is essentially refusing the VWR purchase orders.
    • This is evidence that suppliers are prioritizing fulfillment for hospitals/companies directly involved in working on COVID-19.

Fisher

  • Fisher Scientific now has a statement on their site akin to what most other suppliers have said about prioritizing PPE orders for customers directly doing work on COVID-19.
  • As with other suppliers, take extra time to order and note the full name of a recipient and let the supplier know a location is open to deliveries.

Twist Bioscience

Twist Bioscience is the first supplier we have seen to actively state they will accept an order and delay shipment until a lab re-opens. If you ask when placing an order, some suppliers will do this for the scientific community even if not stated as openly as Twist Bioscience did.

Courier Updates

Couriers are operating as they were last week and still working to sort out non-delivered packages (often just returning to sender). Get in touch with the supplier to attempt to re-route any packages. See our last post for how couriers are being affected.

The Happi Note

Suppliers are managing this and as essential businesses in response to COVID-19, remain open.

Keep washing hands and ensure that surfaces are properly cleaned. Production Automation Corporation has gathered guidelines for cleaning surfaces to mitigate COVID-19 spread (though note: these are recommendations based on what we know has worked against other coronaviruses and can reasonably be expected to work as well against SARS-CoV-2 (aka COVID-19).

If you have extra supplies, Biocom has a site of places requesting items and to register if you are needing supplies.

HappiLabs is contining to monitor the supply chain and is still working along with our partners to help scientists during this pandemic.

COVID19 updates 4/3

Science goes on and most life sciences suppliers are considered essential and remain operational, though operating more slowly as they practice physical distancing (i.e. customer and technical services work from home).

Supply Chain Updates

Items outside of PPE and patient sample collection items remain largely available and the normal supply chain is operational, if slower.

Worth repeating that PPE and patient sample collection items like masks and flocked swabs are are in short supply and often on backorder.

For PPE requests with reputable suppliers, HappiLabs recommends the following:

  • Don’t believe a supplier website about their availability/lead time.
  • Calling customer service is also often not reliable at the moment.
  • Get an order in anyway for the PPE item you want.
    • This might prompt an estimated delivery date and gets you on a waiting list.

Carrier Updates

FedEx has a page dedicated to how COVID-19 is affecting their operations and deliveries. Highlights:

  • FedEx has options to re-route packages for local pickup if a delivery is missed
  • They recommend letting vendors know a lab is open for deliveries (for HappiLabs, we’ve got you covered!)
  • Cashback guarantees and delivery signature requirements have been suspended.

UPS has a similar site minus the help with delivery options. And as we reported last week, our anecdotal experience is that UPS seems to be having more delivery disruptions and problems than FedEx.

While most of the carrier industry is still working, their operations *are* often affected, especially in the final miles of delivery to a specific address.

We still recommend when placing an order scientists let their supplier know they are open and to place obvious signage stating that fact for the benefit of delivery people.

The Happi Note

COVID-19 is still around and physical distancing orders have been extended in many places around the world, including the United States.

The recommendations we made in our last COVID-19 impact post still stand. Keep washing your hands regularly.

We’re still working. Many labs are still working, even if limited just now.

Most items are in stock at suppliers and passionate scientists are continuing to work, including many on the novel Coronavirus, working toward solutions.

We’re here to improve scientists’ happiness and quality of their research and are thankful to all of them who provide a positive vision of the future, especially in times of uncertainty and disruption.

COVID19 Life Science Supply Chain Impact March 27, 2020

Our Coronavirus Task Force is keeping up-to-date on the scientific supply chain. Read about our goals and team here.

As we gather supplier statements about their operations during the COVID-19 pandemic affecting the world, here is what we’ve learned this week about Suppliers and Shipping companies.

Supplier Operations

Most scientific suppliers remain open as essential businesses to the healthcare industry. That doesn’t mean everything is operating as normal though.

Suppliers are operating a little slower due to working from home, and people working from the office while following social distancing protocols. This means customer service and other departments are often not as easy to get a hold of by phone or chat. Therefore, processing orders at some vendors is slow. It varies by supplier and changes by day.

PPE like masks, gowns, gloves, soap, and sanitizers are still in short supply. Many suppliers are limiting the amounts of PPE scientists can buy at one time or reserving the supply for hospitals and governments first.

Other notes:

    • 80% of the top 70 scientific suppliers have provided statements about their operations.
    • ULine, Teknova, and Fisher Scientific have stated they are prioritizing supply for those working directly on the COVID-19 outbreak.
    • Teknova has gone so far as to set up a dedicated email address for those labs working on COVID-19 (Covid19@teknova.com)
    • Of the suppliers with no statements thus far, most we have ordered from this week are open and processing order requests.

Suppliers who have announced closure/limited operations due to COVID-19:

New benefits from suppliers:

Amazon

Though not an essential warehouse for critical supplies, Amazon extended the closure of a warehouse for deeper cleaning in Kentucky today. And such incidents are what led BioLife Solutions, in heavily affected Seattle to announce closing of operations until May 4.

Shipping Operations (UPS, Fedex, etc.)

The “final mile” of deliveries are facing some issues. At HappiLabs, we have noticed that UPS in particular is having deliveries not attempted or instantly returned to the sender with no re-attempts made.

In general, note that shipping companies are having some ‘final mile’ issues delivering to varying degrees.

Actions to take

    • For items in transit, let suppliers know your address is open to deliveries.
    • Post clear signage at your door:
We are open. Call 555-1234 if the door is not open. Science must go on!
    • Bribe UPS or Fedex drivers. With food! And kind words (“thank you!”). A snack tray by the door can help ensure future deliveries occur without issue.

Those are the updates for today. Tune in next week as we continue to report our findings.

The HappiLabs Coronavirus Task Force.