A Look at COVID-19 Challenges: Logistics vs. Supply and Demand

The American Logistics Aid Network (ALAN) has dealt with many disasters over the last 10 years but facing COVID-19 has presented unique challenges. Unlike a fire, flood or hurricane, that creates physical barriers and hinders the transportation of food and supplies, COVID-19 has created challenges related to policies, guidance and a scarcity of essential supplies such as face masks, ventilators, cleaning supplies and even toilet paper. COVID-19 isn’t just a logistics problem like you would see with a natural disater, it’s more a supply issue.

To help businesses and nonprofit organizations keep supply chain moving across the country, ALAN has created the Supply Chain Intelligence Center. This online mapping tool can be used to monitor real-time status of roads, ports, and airports in disaster-impacted areas as well as policy changes at different levels. This interactive map is vital in helping organizations navigate logistics response to disasters. MHI donated $25,000 to ALAN in April to help make it happen.

To also help with supply shortages, many material handling and supply chain companies have been able to transform their operations. Here are a few stories MHI members have shared with us of giving back to fight COVID-19.

PioneerIWS Shifts Production to Hospital Cots to Aid COVID-19 Fight
– SSI SCHAEFER Shifts Operations to Producing Face Masks as Choice of Civic Duty
– Georg Utz, Inc. Announces Production of Face Shields for Critical Workers: Here’s Their Story
Capco Crane & Hoist Inc. Jumps to Create Crane System In Record Time to Aid COVID-19 Victims

During these times, the material handling and supply chain industry must unite more than ever. We are incredibly grateful for the efforts of these MHI member companies and of the great work ALAN does to better the safety of our citizens and the security of our economy.