The New Supply Clinic- Designed For Pandemic Needs
August 17, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has upended every aspect of our lives. For healthcare practitioners in particular, the pandemic has dramatically altered some practices and behaviors, including the creation of surging demand for personal protective equipment (PPE). Dentists are no exception. In fact, with high exposures to aerosols, dental professionals are about as high-risk as they come.
We at Supply Clinic have worked tirelessly to help our customers consistently find the PPE they need on our site. Here’s a brief summary of our efforts and new policies and features:
GLOBAL DEMAND SKYROCKETED
We at Supply Clinic had our first ‘exposure’ to COVID-19 in January- we saw a surge of users in East Asia attempt to purchase face masks on our site. Within two months, demand for masks skyrocketed in the US as well. Demand for gowns and gloves soon followed suit. Customers began demanding products they didn’t use previously: N95/KN95 masks, contact-free thermometers, face shields, and more.
Healthcare suppliers were faced with a situation unlike anything they’d ever seen. And just as demand surged, the supply chain began to break down.
SUPPLY CHAINS STRAINED
As demand surged globally for PPE, supply chains began to break down. The federal government formally invoked the Defense Production Act in early April, involving FEMA in PPE distribution. Even PPE that wasn’t routed by the government was primarily sold to hospital systems and other large purchasers, tightening availability for all other customers.
Additionally, warehouses and shipping carriers began to have difficulty meeting pre-pandemic delivery expectations. Many had to reduce operating staff for social distancing purposes, and delivery attempts to closed businesses posed further challenges. Furthermore, the federal government issued everchanging guidance on PPE, creating confusion and chaos.
SUPPLY CLINIC INSTITUTED NEW PROCEDURES
To maintain continued customer access to quality, timely PPE, Supply Clinic instituted policies and efforts that have differentiated customer experience on our site from that of the broader PPE market:
- We created a dedicated PPE webpage on our site
- Several team members have worked around the clock to keep the product availability and pricing of PPE products on our site updated in real time
- We built new features, including maximum purchase quantities and stock level reporting, to help more customers access PPE
- We created a Shipments Manager role, to help navigate the troubled logistics environment
SUPPLY CLINIC FOUND NEW SOURCES, AND VETTED THEM
To meet the surging demand, we also expanded our seller partnerships, adding over a dozen new sellers listing PPE products, with clear, stringent vetting procedures.
- We reached out to new, vetted PPE distributors who were brought to our attention through personal referrals or had verified references.
- Our team implemented stringent vetting procedures, including sample inspections, FDA registration forms, testing specifications, and more.
- We immediately responded to customer feedback and removed unsatisfactory items (pungent hand sanitizer, flimsy face shields, etc.)
SUPPLY CLINIC FEATURES COMING SOON
We’ve also been working on several additional features that will be rolled out in the coming months:
- A Data Dashboard of performance data for sellers, helping them identify and improve upon weak areas
- Item page displays of handling time expectations, to help customers better plan for shipments
- Factor seller reliability into site experience, helping suggest more reliable sellers to customers
We at Supply Clinic are continuing to do everything in our power to help bring some semblance of normalcy to the PPE market, and help dentists and healthcare practitioners of all types find the PPE they need to keep themselves, and their patients, safe.
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