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Being Prepared for the Unexpected

Posted 4/7/2020

Nothing teaches like experience. The value of being prepared for the unexpected has just been demonstrated. Public sector supply chains are being tested and now is the time to learn from the experiences brought on by this pandemic.

One thing is certain, this or some similar type event will happen again.

Supply management preparation is about managing supply risk when confronted with emergency or urgent situations. Here on Canada’s West Coast much effort is made to plan for a major earthquake aftermath. Major wildfire event preparation is happening based on recent experiences in Australia, BC and Alberta. Floods happen. The lessons learned could be shared and applied to the current virus pandemic.

The Trade Agreements address emergency procurements. The NWPTA Part V C 2 (h) states “where an unforeseeable situation of urgency exists and the goods, services or construction could not be obtained in time by means of open procurement procedures” as an exception to the procurement requirements of governments.

The CFTA allows for limited tendering: Article 513 Para. 1 (d) “if strictly necessary, and for reasons of urgency brought about by events unforeseeable by the procuring entity, the goods or services could not be obtained in time using open tendering”

The key word to note in both cases is “unforeseeable”.

I will not attempt to define unforeseeable to any circumstance but as supply managers we could assume that earthquake, fire, flood, and pandemic are now foreseeable future events.

It is our role and responsibility to be prepared to ensure that the supplies and equipment required by medical and public safety personnel are available when required.

Medical and public safety people put themselves in harm’s way daily. Their health and safety should not be compromised because there is not enough personal protection equipment or the required supplies to do what they need to do.

Let’s be prepared.