We’re nearly a year into the pandemic and we’ve learned a lot about the human spirit and ingenuity. As we all do our best to balance the needs of our families, work, and other daily challenges, it is easy to lose sight of the incredible work and sacrifice that some of our fellow citizens are doing each day. Although there are still plenty of unknowns that lay ahead, we are thankful for the unsung heroes among us, working tirelessly on the front lines to help supply the timely delivery of essential goods to those in need. The challenge is two-fold, with the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine and never before seen numbers of eCommerce orders.
The logistics behind the delivery of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines in the U.S., including the special requirements and safety protocols for handling this precious cargo such as temperature-controlled solutions and near real-time monitoring equipment, contribute to the largest logistical challenge in human history.
FedEx and DHL are leading the charge in terms of the distribution of the vaccine, as they ensure the safe handling, sorting, storing, and distribution of the vaccine. “We’ve got the latest and greatest in advanced tracking on every package,” said FedEx Regional President of the Americas, Richard Smith. “We affix a SenseAware ID tag to every box when our couriers pick it up so we have eyes on these packages at all times as they move through our system.”
We should take a moment to recognize the Herculean efforts that workers across logistics and distribution facilities all over the world are doing. “This is the most important job in FedEx history", according to company leaders.
A lot of work left to do:
According to Bloomberg, more than 29 million doses have been administered in 43 countries. In the United States, approximately 25.5 million doses have been delivered, covering only about 8% of the adult population. There is a lot more tireless work needed from these heroes.
The logistical challenges for the distribution of the vaccine are exasperated by the spike in eCommerce orders. In fact, the pandemic collapsed a process of adopting e-commerce into three months that otherwise would have taken 10 years in the U.S. according to a recent survey by McKinsey & Co.
eCommerce orders were expected to reach $189 billion in November and December, according to research by Adobe Analytics, which is an increase of 33%, year over year. Some positive news? This has led to a large increase in the hiring of seasonal workers. The USPS hired more than 50,000 temporary workers and added Sunday deliveries, while Amazon and UPS each hired 100,000 seasonal workers to keep up with the surge in online orders.
I can speak from experience as a brother to a nurse and doctor, as well as a father to two young children, that we are especially grateful for the tireless work that our pickers, packers, logistics managers, floor supervisors, dock workers, and drivers, amongst so many other key functional areas are doing day in and day out, to deliver hope (vaccines and toys included) to a nation in dire need of it.
In this perfect storm, logistics and distribution companies like FedEx and DHL are tackling this historical, logistical challenge with skill and grace. As each of us battles through the remainder of this pandemic, it’s important to thank a logistics and distribution worker who has risked their health and safety to ensure timely deliveries of items from PPE equipment and vaccines to cleaning supplies and children’s holiday toys. Thank you from UKG!