Catherine Cooper on Constraints in the Existing Cold Chain and Building Resilient SC for the Future

This episode of The Vaccine Challenge is hosted by Priyanka Asera and features Catherine Cooper, President & CEO of World Connections. Catherine has been in the logistics industry for two decades and has served various leadership positions. She now helps Fortune 500 companies to build resilient supply chains, and sits at the intersection of technology and people.

2020 was all about the pandemic. 2021 is all about the COVID-19 vaccines.

But what is the focus on vaccines doing to the overall cold chain capacity? What effect will the pandemic have on how boardrooms think about the need for resilient supply chains in the future? We discuss both of these crucial questions here.

Topics touched upon:

What is the magnitude of the impact the pandemic has had on supply chains globally?

  • Economic global growth in 2019 was 2% and around that for previous years. The ‘economist intelligence unit’ is forecasting global economic growth this year at 4.2 % and that is on the back of a 4.7% contraction last year. We are having to manage a huge swing!

Impact: Global trade and supply chains are being reshaped

  • Countries are striving to diversify their export markets and capture redirected manufacture investment
    -Companies concurrently are seeking to diversify their supply chains -Additionally, people could see risks that were not directly related to but many clearly exacerbated by Covid -19

What is the definition of supply chain resilience and how does one work on achieving it

Definition of Supply chain Resilience - the ability to quickly adjust to sudden, unexpected disruptive changes that can negatively affect supply chain performance How can supply chain resiliency be built in:

  • Supply chain resilience can be strengthened by increasing inventory levels of raw material, work-in-progress, and the final product; adding manufacturing and/or storage capacity to improve manufacturing surge capability; and increasing the number of key suppliers and ensure their economic stability, surge capability, and geographical distribution
  • End-to-end, data-driven, supply chain control. Supply chain integration, transparency, and visibility are necessary but not sufficient conditions for enhanced resilience. Being able to view raw materials, semi-finished goods, and finished products starting from your “suppliers’ suppliers” to your “customers’ customers” is more important than ever
  • Build in redundancy: Redundancies, including emergency stockpiles, safety stocks, and diversified sourcing suppliers. These suppliers must be able to provide additional surge capacity when there are disruptions of supply to ensure business continuity.
  • Near-shoring at least some capacity and supplier base

What incidents led to such added pressure on the existing cold chain?

On Nov. 9, Pfizer made history by announcing that their coronavirus vaccine had an efficacy rate of over 90 percent.

Cascading consequences that led to such complexities:

  • Pandemic lockdown, people stop traveling. Gasoline and jet fuel is based on customer demand. With the lockdowns demand for gas dropped by 28% and jet fuel by 70%
  • In June we started seeing widespread ethanol plant shutdowns – those plants produce CO2 by-product and provide 45% of the domestic CO2
  • This resulted in limited dry ice
  • Then layer on top Pfizer demand
  • This resulted in a huge crisis

3PLs entered to help the situation. FedEx and UPS invested in dry ice manufacturing at their respective hubs. UPS says it can produce 24,000 pounds of dry ice per day

What SC changes will stay post pandemic and how are board rooms talking about this?

  • Ecommerce – pulled forward 5-20 years due to forced acceleration, forced experimentation and forced adoption
  • Grocery Online sales have doubled in every major market and are holding
  • 1/3rd of restaurant food demand became takeaway as opposed to on-premise. When you change the logistic model you change the labor efficiency, rent efficiency, and the economics of it all
  • McKinsey survey indicates that 93% of senior supply-chain executives from across industries & geographies plan to increase the level of resilience across their supply chain.
  • Messaging, priority setting, and leadership will matter more than ever

About Catherine

Educated as an engineer, Catherine has dedicated her career to the logistics industry, serving

the last 20 years in top leadership positions.

Through a powerful combination of business insight, technical competency, and executive leadership, her expertise helps clients achieve optimal success by addressing their global supply

chain challenges and strategic initiatives from both an executive and operational perspective.

You can reach Catherine at: