AstraZeneca commits to supply Europe with 400 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine candidate

AstraZeneca has announced that it has reached an agreement with Europe’s Inclusive Vaccines Alliance (IVA) to supply the continent with up to 400 million doses of the University of Oxford’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate (ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, now known as AZD1222), with deliveries starting by the end of 2020. With the new agreement, the IVA aims to accelerate the supply of the vaccine and to make it available to other European countries that wish to participate in the initiative.  AstraZeneca is now seeking to expand manufacturing capacity further and is open to collaborating with other companies to ensure it meets its commitment to support access to the vaccine at no profit during the pandemic.

The company has also recently completed similar agreements with the UK, US, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and Gavi the Vaccine Alliance for 700 million doses and it agreed on a license with the Serum Institute of India for the supply of an additional one billion doses, principally for low- and middle-income countries. Total manufacturing capacity currently stands at two billion doses. AstraZeneca recognizes that the vaccine may not work but is committed to progressing the clinical program with speed and scaling up manufacturing at risk.


Retrenchments start in SA’s aviation supply chain as Covid-19 lockdown bites

A subsidiary of Bidvest Group that provides services at SA’s major airports – including operating airport lounges, cargo handling, and passenger chauffeuring – plans to lay off thousands of workers after a large drop in business during the Covid-19 pandemic. Bid Air Services, a subsidiary of JSE-listed Bidvest that employs about 5,000 people across its airport and travel services divisions, has begun steps to retrench more than half of its workforce. Bid Air told its workers in a letter dated 10 June 2020, which Business Maverick has seen, that it would issue them with Section 189 notices under the Labour Relations Act.

Bid Air said even when airports reopen – as they have during a Level 3 lockdown – the company’s “services will remain constrained”. During the Level 3 lockdown, few airports have reopened their doors, and airline companies are allowed to operate business flights, but only between Cape Town, Johannesburg, and Durban. This means airports and airlines are facilitating the travel of fewer passengers and operating limited flight schedules, which affects Bid Air’s profitability because its lounges at major airports are still closed and its airport handling services (cargo, passengers, and ramp) are not operating at full capacity. And with demand for air travel expected to remain low post the Covid-19 period, Bid Air’s operations will likely struggle for a while.


After COVID, developing the right digital supply chain talent will be harder than ever

A digital supply chain requires companies to organize and behave in ways significantly different from the past. New business models, new data sources, new technologies, enhanced processes and increased risks all contribute to an operational landscape that requires new ways of working, and most importantly, new skills to match. But finding and recruiting new talent is not enough. Where can traditional firms uncover and attract digital talent? Are your recruiting strategies updated to account for your more digital competitors? Firms also face the reality that bringing bright new digital skills into traditional processes may not necessarily deliver improvements in supply chain performance and may meet resistance.

In our annual Digital Supply Chain survey, a majority of firms acknowledged that their current talent pool is inadequate to execute their digital business strategies. At the same time, respondents also noted they were either unable to or haven’t taken significant actions to close the digital talent gap. Further, in our conversations with supply chain leaders, we found that the digital skills gap was top of mind, yet few firms had begun to address the challenge.


Google Cloud Designed to Keep Supply Chain Managers in the Loop

While the full impact of COVID-19 is still unknown, many factories are already experiencing decreases in workforce capacity and resources, notes Dominik Wee, Managing Director, Manufacturing and Transportation, Google Cloud. In this exclusive interview, he outlines how his company is enabling supply chain managers in various industry sectors.


Supply Chain Management Review: Did Google anticipate the massive move to remote workplaces before COVID-19?

Dominik Wee: No one could have predicted the sheer impact that COVID-19 would have on economies, industries, and workforces. Google Cloud has been well-positioned to support remote work at scale, though, through our collaboration and productivity apps, namely G Suite. Some of our customers were already ahead of this trend. For example, Koenig & Bauer, the world’s oldest printing press manufacturer, began migrating to G Suite earlier this year. That timely switch enabled its workplaces to stay connected and boost collaboration, irrespective of the time zone.


Covid-19 has exposed cracks in the global medicines supply chain. We need to fix them

The Covid-19 pandemic has upended the normal ways of doing everything from going to school to making sure countries have the medications their citizens need. It has also exposed vulnerabilities in the global medicine supply chain, leading to uncertainty, drug shortages, quality issues, and price volatility. Strengthening the supply chain to ensure an uninterrupted supply of essential medicines that are safe, meet standards for quality, and are beneficial to health — something the U.S. Senate’s Finance Committee will be discussing at a hearing Tuesday afternoon — should be seen as a public health priority.

The dependence of Americans on medicines and their active ingredients mostly made in a handful of countries outside the U.S. raises concerns about supply-chain disruptions and our ability to ensure the availability of essential medicines. This was evident earlier this year when cities in China shut down and the production of some medicines was halted as India was restricting the export of certain medicines.