The imperfect COVID-19 vaccine rollout has propelled one business buzzword to the headlines: logistics.
Americans are watching as government officials, hospital administrators, and medical professionals from both the public and private sectors struggle with one of the largest logistical challenges in modern history: getting vaccine doses into arms. As of this writing, only 5.9 million vaccines have been administered nationwide – far under the target of 20 million vaccinations by year-end 2020. The figure is even more jarring when compared to the 21.4 million doses that have been distributed; less than one third of distributed doses have been administered.
This national experience is a timely reminder of the importance of logistics. Despite the ample time while the vaccines were in development to plan a phased vaccine allocation system, the rollout has not been entirely smooth. Millions of vaccine doses are currently sitting on shelves as state organizers strive to match supply with demand based on both location and recipient priority level. It is not enough to have a goal in advance – it is critical that the concrete steps to achieve that goal be outlined and disseminated throughout an organization.
For businesses, this reminder could not come at a better time. The economic recovery that will follow the recession of 2020 is upon us. In fact, we expect the first quarter of 2021 will be the business cycle low for the US industrial economy. If your business correlates more closely with Gross Domestic Product than Industrial Production, understand that the former is already in Phase A, Recovery, and that prompt action is even more critical.
Business cycle rise – the recovery and eventual growth trends – will be good news for most businesses. But as the old saying goes, a rising tide lifts all boats. Without precise, determined plans in place, you risk mistaking the macroeconomic recovery for a unique company-specific trend. This is the time to take advantage of the economic cycle and maximize your gains. Don’t just keep pace with the rising tide – put yourself in a position to rocket out of the water.
We suggest that business leaders think back to the last major recovery, which began in 2009. Consider what your broad business goals were, and what specific roadblocks hampered your ability to meet them. Are those roadblocks still present in your company? What new bottlenecks or process limitations might exist today? Consider what you need more of – people, capacity, or inventory.
Now I would like to issue a challenge to the business leaders reading this post. Consider your big-picture goals for 2021, and then write down a logistics New Year's resolution that will enable you to achieve them. If you need someone to hold you accountable to this resolution, please feel free to contact us. It will be better than committing to visit the gym, and I think you’ll appreciate the payoff even more.