03 Sep 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted every aspect of life in 2020, with supply chain problems becoming a primary challenge for businesses across the globe. Interos, an AI-powered risk management platform, conducted a study in October 2020. They found that “more than 90% of companies expect the disruption of global supply chains caused by the pandemic will have long-lasting effects on their businesses, and nearly 98% of senior decision-makers in the United States alone believe that their organization’s supply chain has already been disrupted.” 

The senior decision-makers included in the study noted challenges with demand reduction, shortages, price swings, and various other issues across their supply chains courtesy of COVID-19. Moreover, of the 450 senior-level personnel, 90% feared that these issues would continue with future waves of infection.

Today, the primary change is that companies are now experiencing higher demand in addition to all of the other issues. Moreover, we now know that these challenges won’t be going away any time soon. So now is the time for businesses to focus on building resilience into every aspect of their value chains.

It’s no secret that, right now, supply chains are a mess regardless of the pandemic. Businesses have seen nearly every disruption possible, from container shortages to bad weather and even a blockage in the Suez Canal. The way companies have managed to persevere and deliver to customers despite these issues is nothing short of inspirational. But, for many, it was an uphill battle every step of the way. Now Delta is adding more variation in an already volatile mix of circumstances, and these imbalances are expected to continue for another year at minimum.

Luckily, experts at PwC, Deloitte, The Wall Street Journal, and Supply Chain Consultants have been studying and working to uncover reliable ways to manage these ongoing disruptions effectively. It’s up to individual businesses to determine the right mix of resilience to build into their strategies, but all should focus on building it comprehensively into all areas of the company to minimize volatility.

Quest has put together an eBook outlining these recommendations to help you regain more control over your value chain. For example, resetting operations with greater digital capabilities and renewing logistics operating models can improve efficiency and effectiveness. Check out the eBook for more detailed information on how to boost your supply chain’s resilience despite persistent industry disruptions.

16 Jul 2021

Ensuring you have the critical supplies needed to keep your operation running smoothly can be a complicated and costly process. Some suppliers can’t guarantee they will have the required quantity you need when you need it. There are ways to ensure you have the supplies you need without investing in additional warehouse space and employees to manage the process. 

With 20+ years of experience working with pharmaceutical and life science companies, Quest Safety Products has built an effective process to meet critical supply needs without the costly overhead. We are currently doing this for a number of Fortune 500 pharmaceutical companies, enabling them to reinvest the money they’d normally spend on warehouse space and additional inventory back into their core business. 

Download our eBook to get an inside look at the steps we take to manage the supply chain for our customers’ critical products. We’ve also included two case studies that highlight how our unique approach works and the benefits provided to our customers. 

Download the eBook 

If you would like to learn more about our supply chain process or discuss possible solutions for your company, please reach out to Mark Towner, our VP of Sales.

21 Jun 2021

Indianapolis, Ind., June 14, 2021 – Quest Safety Products announced the  opening of a new facility in the Park Fletcher Industrial Park, developed to offer customers stronger supply chain options.

 Quest has a strong economic commitment to Indianapolis through its $5.5 million investment of the new 60,000 sq. ft. facility. By building in a historically underutilized business zone – or HUBZone – Quest brings meaningful investment to the community. 90% of new hires will be primarily from the HUBZone with a planned 56% increase in its workforce. Half those positions will receive wages and benefits equivalent to $28 an hour. 

“Indianapolis remains a top city to grow a business and attract high-quality talent,” said Joe Hogsett, Mayor of Indianapolis. “This is an exciting announcement, and we celebrate the investment by a Minority Business Enterprise in a local HUBZone. We’re proud that Quest Safety Products has chosen Indianapolis as its headquarters, and we look forward to their continued success.”

During 2020, the pandemic posed significant challenges due to broken supply chains for customers. With an already established, robust supply chain, Quest was able to mitigate supply chain issues for their customers, through its own distribution network. Customers have responded favorably to Quest reliably meeting increased demand. This demand, however, required more space for storage and distribution operations supporting the 62% growth it has experienced this year. The building will also allow Quest to achieve next day delivery to 70% of the US, as it’s located next to key transportation hubs.

With over two decades of experience, the organization has developed a deep understanding of needs in the pharmaceutical, nuclear, construction, environmental, and utility industries. Extensive training has made the Quest team experts in these industries and the hazards involved.

“Despite industry shortages, we have reliably sourced high-quality PPE alternatives to mitigate supply chain outages for new and existing customers and our commitment to them is unwavering,” said Sam Yadav, President of Quest.

Customers have relied heavily on the Quest team to manage this year’s supply chain challenges, by demonstrating how a small, quality and diverse supplier provides agile services with increased value and cost savings; vital to any organization’s success, particularly in these challenging times. 

About Quest Safety Products

Quest Safety Products is a full line distributor of safety and environmental abatement products as well as a manufacturer of disposable protective apparel. We are a focused and driven team, committed to helping our customers protect their people, products, and facilities. Quest is a Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) and Small Business Administration (SBA) certified HUBZone business. Learn how Quest solves problems and delivers solutions at www.shopquestsafety.com.

04 Jun 2021

COVID-19 underscored the global supply chain’s fragile nature and the need to develop a more resilient infrastructure to avoid critical shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE),sanitizers, ventilators, drugs and other products.

  • Many factories closed temporarily, this is now continuing as COVID outbreaks persist.
  • A large numbers of containers, estimated to be as high as 60%, were stranded in-transit, made worse with a reduction in ships-at-sea. This is staggering as the China to USA trade route uses on average 900,000 containers per month.
  • Asian nations declared lockdowns and stopped exports to ensure their own supply.
  • Combined with the shortage of containers is the doubling of lead times to 6-9 months for many items.
  • JIT inventory holding made the problems even worse.
  • New manufacturers could not scale-up quickly and many did not have the experience needed to make quality PPE.

Rising Container Cost & Extended Lead Times

Reviving the extended supply chains from Asia, especially China, is taking time and it is evident that the transpacific volume from Asia headed stateside is not slowing (according to Descartes Datamyne). The single biggest factor appears to be stranded containers from various lockdowns and governmental restrictions. Freight shipping is in the midst of a unique and unusual predicament that includes soaring demand, saturated ports, and too few available ships, dockworkers and truckers. No short-term fixes are in sight.


Container costs are already up over 2x pre-COVID and are expected to rise further. This is resulting in price increases. A fully loaded container from China to the USA was just below $6000 pre-COVID. It is rising to nearly $14000. To make matters worse, the lead time for some imports has more than doubled, going to 6-9 months.

Supply is Constrained

The supply situation is made severe by the heightened demand from the Health Care segment. Some
key findings by Becker’s Hospital Review are:
Disposable gloves

  • Availability of exam gloves is expected to be constrained into 2023.
  • Global demand for nitrile exam gloves exceeds production capacity by about 215 billion units, or about 40 percent.
  • Shortages have been exacerbated by raw material scarcity, port closures and delays, and a twofold increase in usage since June 2020.
  • Spending on Gloves rose 250 percent between November 2020 and March 2021.

N95 masks 

  • As COVID-19 cases drove a surge in demand for N95 masks during the first wave of the pandemic.  One year later, the N95 market is still constrained, but not in active shortage.
  • 3M has dramatically increased production.

Surgical & isolation masks 

  • Usage of surgical and isolation masks tripled between June 2020 and March 2021.
  • By February 2021, surgical mask spend was about 100 percent higher than February 2020. 

Protective Clothing

  • When manufacturers began prioritizing N95s and other masks, isolation gown supply compressed.
  • Isolation gowns surpassed N95 masks as the top PPE shortage concern by mid-April 2020, with 74 percent of health systems saying gowns were their top concern.
  • Gown purchasing was up about 100 percent in February and March this year compared to February 2020. 

Costs Still Well Above Pre-COVID Levels

There were exponential cost increases in PPE last year, especially on products going to the Health Care segment like gloves, gowns and masks.

Some have rolled back, but many are still well above pre-COVID levels. Nitrile gloves, in particular, are still nearly 70% above 2019 and expected to potentially increase further (as forecasted by Ansell in a May 20201 Market Updated). Fact.MR summed it as: “Sky-high demand for nitrile disposable gloves from the medical sector is aiding manufacturers, while initiatives undertaken by private and government organizations are spurring the growth of the market”. Protective clothing (+17%) and shoe covers (+15%) are still high. N95 masks have fallen back with the dramatic increase in manufacturing by 3M.

The World Health Organization has warned that “severe and mounting disruption to the global supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) – caused by rising demand, panic buying, hoarding and misuse – is putting lives at risk from the new coronavirus outbreaks and other infectious diseases”.

Be Careful with Alternate Sources

Many new manufactures emerged in 2020 – especially those with capabilities to manufacture similar products switching to PPE. They were trying to help in a difficult situation. However, there have been cases where such products that do not meet OSHA requirements and even outright fraud. Both Ansell and 3M have issued warnings and guidelines – especially on disposable gloves and N95 respirators. 

Steps for “Next Time” 

A lot has been written about key lessons learnt and steps to take for “the next time”. Four actions stand out for companies to seriously include in their planning for the future.

Below is a similar note by the American Health Association on steps to take to strengthen the supply infrastructure in the medical field.

4 Steps to a Stronger Supply Infrastructure By The American Health Association

1. Coordinate the Response to Offers for Help

Many hospitals and health systems were flooded with calls, emails and other inquiries about PPE needs as the pandemic unfolded. Some messages reached the supply team, others didn’t. This underscores the need for purchasing or another department to be the single point of contact for coordinating with alternative suppliers and donors.

2. Vet Equipment Designs to Ensure Quality

Food and Drug Administration approval processes that certify the designs and production processes of products and emergency use authorizations allowed nontraditional suppliers to produce low-risk PPE. Quality control became an issue as some products from these sources proved to be ineffective, uncomfortable or unsafe. Digital platforms for aggregating, documenting and vetting medical supply designs can help. Open Source Medical Supplies, a collaborative between manufacturers and physicians, was launched last March to aid in this effort. The group has created a library of nearly 200 open-source designs for PPE and medical devices. These designs are vetted by medical advisers, and a volunteer community offers input on improving designs for safety.

3. Develop Alternative Suppliers before They’re Needed

Identifying and forging relationships now with alternative suppliers, and adding these sources to approved vendor lists will allow provider organizations to move quickly during emergencies. To jump-start this effort, the AHA’s Association for Health Care Resource & Materials Management website provides a wealth of tools, including a list of more than 400 vetted and approved nontraditional suppliers offering PPE and other supplies and services.

4. Test Supply Chain Availability

As part of emergency preparedness drills, include the potential for large-scale supplier disruption and determine which existing and alternative suppliers the organization can turn to when product shortages begin to surface.

Here at Quest Safety Products, we are working hard to stay ahead of supply chain issues to avoid passing the rising transportation costs off to our customers. If you are looking to diversify your supply chain with a secondary supplier, Quest is experienced in managing the Supplier Change Process to ensure a smooth addition. If this is something your organization is working though, we are here to help.

01 Mar 2021

These have been difficult months for logistic providers, businesses and consumers as shipping delays around the world have held up products and supplies with inventory levels being depleted. The shortage in containers and port delays are putting pressure logistic costs, which have generally doubled. “Supply chains may take several more months to return to some semblance of normality as inventory, now trapped further up the supply chain, will need to be cleared,” Ocean Insights’ Chief Operations Officer Josh Brazil reported in February.

Impact on International Shipping

Metrics such as carriers’ schedule reliability are worsening and cargo rollover rates are still on the rise. The average delay for containers increased from one day in January 2020, to more than five days in January 2021. More than 40 cargo ships with tens of thousands of containers were waiting at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach in January reported Reuters, with an increase to 62 ships by late February. This has been similar at many US trade gateways.

Shipping Congestion in San Pedro Bay

The Chinese New Year has exacerbated COVID-19 related shipping delays outbound from China. The New Year celebrations now last a month as workers tend to take time off to visit distant homes. Internal travel restrictions imposed by Chinese authorities, requiring domestic travelers to quarantine for 14 days after traveling, has added a new bottleneck. Many Chinese factories have been totally closed for the month of February.

Global Schedule Reliability, declining since the middle of 2020, has not improved through February of this year. It appears that all 20 of the global ports for which Ocean Insights, a data analytics firm, collates data have seen a decline.

Global Schedule Reliability via Economic Times

“Huge numbers of medical supplies keep on coming along with furniture, appliances, construction material, landscaping, hot tubs and anything related to the outdoors,” said Mario Cordero, executive director at the Port of Long Beach. “Americans that have not been impacted by Covid will continue to spend and the surge could go on through late spring.” (The Wall Street Journal)

Industry executives say shipping rates have increased 50-100% and container rates have almost doubled. Quest Safety Products, a distributor based in Indianapolis, has even seen cancellations when their containers are rolled over because of overbooking but they are still charged cancellation fees. This is starting to result in price increases to the end-user of three to five percent.

On the Domestic Front

On the domestic front, according to FedEx, there are three major factors causing delays:

Heavy Package Volume

The pandemic has created record-breaking shipment volumes. As more people shop online to avoid crowds in stores, those numbers have grown even more. This has created shipping volumes that are taxing logistics networks nationwide, which may cause delays.

COVID-19 business closures

The pandemic continues to cause businesses around the country to close. If you need to send a shipment to an area that’s experiencing closures, contact your recipient before you ship to ensure they’re open and able to receive your package.

Weather and Other Service Disruptions

Seasonal weather events and other disruptions have occurred, causing delays for inbound and outbound shipments. Our top priorities are the safety and well-being of our team members and providing the best service to our customers.  

There has been a huge increase in freight volume since the economic contraction. As reported by FedEx, growth in eCommerce is driving small parcel growth. For 2021, FTR Transportation Intelligence forecasts an increase in truck loadings of about 5% and an increase in rates of about 8%. Spot rates are higher depending on disruptions and weather such as in February.

In Conclusion

Shipping delays have plagued 2020 and are likely to continue well into 2021 as inventory trapped in the supply chain becomes available and choke points, such as shipping ports, are cleared.

The expectation is that supply pressures will result in higher logistic costs. Expect these to be passed on to end-users. 

Maintaining inventory or accepting close alternatives are potential ways to overcome spot shortages that are occurring and likely to continue for some time. 

To maintain good customer relationships, it is important for suppliers to: 

  • Stay in close touch with their customers, keeping them advised of delays quickly so they can take possible steps to mitigate potential problems
  • Be honest and open about the delay
  • Offer close alternatives when possible 

Here at Quest Safety Products, we are working hard to stay ahead of supply chain issues to avoid passing the rising transportation costs off to our customers. If you are looking to diversify your supply chain with a secondary supplier, Quest is experienced in managing the Supplier Change Process to ensure a smooth addition. If this is something your organization is working though, we are here to help.

15 Dec 2020

5 Benefits Your Vendor-Managed Inventory Partner Should Provide

 

The goal of a solid Vendor Management Inventory (VMI) program is to provide a mutually beneficial partnership between a supplier and its customer to ensure a smooth and accurate flow of goods between the two organizations. At Quest, we handle the complex challenges of inventory planning for customers operating in highly structured industries such as pharma and life sciences, where stocking levels can impact the bottom line.

At a time when keeping your workers, facilities, and products safe means ensuring you have the inventory you need to stay operational, partnering with a trusted VMI team can be a powerful tool in making sure your workers have what they need when they need it. To help make sure you are getting the most out of your VMI program, we are sharing five key benefits your Vendor-Managed Inventory partner should provide.

1. Increased Service Tailored to Your Unique Needs
A solid VMI program should always ensure you have no more and no less than what is absolutely needed to have onsite. When we kickoff a new VMI partnership here at Quest, we assign a VMI Specialist who is focused on a customer’s most important product and stocking needs. Rather than taking control away from the customer, we work together to analyze monthly usage needs to determine minimum and maximum inventory levels.

2. Improved Operational Efficiencies
The main benefit of VMI is to help your business run smoother and operate more efficiently. This can mean different levels of service for different organizations. At Quest, we can have VMI specialists perform inventory counts and deliveries each week, or we can have a specialist located onsite at all times. With part-time and full-time VMI, customers can focus their employees’ efforts on the work that generates company revenue. Additionally, VMI teams can help identify issues such as product expiration dates, tracking lot numbers, and managing important paperwork such as Certificate of Conformity.

3. Reduced Inventory Overstocks & Stock Shortages
VMI removes the need for the customer to have significant backup stock because the vendor manages the resupply lead times. Lower inventories for the customer can translate to significant cost savings.

Quest’s VMI team stocks and tracks customer inventory to ensure they have the products they need when they need them. Many times VMI teams are used in time-sensitive industries that also have regulatory demands. A pharmaceutical manufacturing production line running out of supplies can cause that line to shut down temporarily, costing the company tens of thousands of dollars. A strong VMI team ensures that doesn’t happen.

4. Onsite Technical Expertise
Working with a VMI specialist who understands your business is key. Quest carefully assigns a team specifically trained to work within your industry. This way, you can be sure the VMI team understands the requirements of your business, the timeframes you work under, and how product stocking affects your employees, products, and bottom line. If a problem arises with a product, VMI specialists with technical experience understand possible implications and can react quickly to offer various solutions.

5. Financial Transparency
Your vendor’s Sales and VMI team should be meeting with you regularly so you are aware of what stock is being used in your company and how much of it. They can also help explain why product changes were made by your safety managers or industrial hygienists. Quest performs site-specific reporting and spend usage that allows our customers to make better-informed business decisions and eliminate wasteful, non-value adding factors and other costs associated with inventory errors.

Better communication, inventory accuracy, forecasting and overall service are all possible through VMI. A good VMI partnership should create a service that has considered all aspects of the supply chain and any areas for concern so that the customer can focus on what they do rather than making sure they have the supplies they need to safely do it. To get the most out of a VMI program, be sure to work with a vendor that has experience in your industry. Your vendor should always have their finger on the pulse so when it’s time to source new or additional items, they have you covered. If you’re interested in learning how VMI can keep your business operating smoothly, our team can help.

How Quest is Minimizing the Impact of Rising PPE Prices and Supply Chain Shortages

The COVID-19 pandemic has increased demand for single-use gloves and garments so dramatically, manufacturers are struggling to keep up. As we move into winter and face a surging positivity rate across the US, the gap between supply and demand will continue to grow.

The result will be higher costs driven by:

A high global demand that has tripled due to more stringent protocols in healthcare and frontline workers as well as governments stockpiling PPE across the globe.

A limited global supply due to a lack of manufacturing capabilities. Manufacturers typically produce 370 billion gloves a year, but an estimated 585 billion gloves are needed to meet global demand.

A shortage of raw materials—specifically anything made with polypropylene material—is driving up costs by 30%-50% and is expected to continue to rise.

An increase in production costs as manufacturers struggle to attract workers due to labor shortages, quarantines, and the cost of keeping workers safe. Additionally, distribution and logistics costs are increasing.

Quest Safety Products has developed a deep understanding of the pharmaceutical industry’s needs and requirements through technical training and decades of experience. This enables Quest to be hyper-focused on what impacts pharmaceutical customers at this time and source high-quality PPE alternatives during recent supply chain outages.

Learn how Quest is working to minimize the impact of rising PPE prices and supply chain shortages so you can keep your workers safe. Read more.

16 Nov 2020
Pharma worker in face mask and glasses

Supply Chain Disruption: Single-Sourcing Is No Longer a Solution

Managing disrupted supply chains is top of mind and has become more and more important for PPE, medical supplies, and other “essential” products. As COVID-19 cases spike around the country, the increased need for supplies will challenge supply chains again. In recent surveys, 94% of the Fortune 1000 companies have reported seeing coronavirus-driven supply chain disruptions and 56% of CFOs identified this as a key issue facing their company. Risk mitigation has become critical.

"The pandemic has been and will continue to be a major shock to global supply chains and sourcing strategies." -Harvard Business Review

When supply chains are disrupted, those who single source, in particular, suffer most. There are many examples of this especially for PPE and medical supplies. In times of shortages, most suppliers focus on their core customers. Many U.S. businesses are looking for multiple suppliers including ones in Mexico and Central America. Their proximity makes them more attractive, with lower shipping costs, no duties, and imports that aren’t on the high seas for weeks at a time. In other categories, Apple is moving a part of its supply chain to India. Indonesia has made dramatic changes to become more “business-friendly." This is what PwC and AmCham call a ‘China+1’ strategy.

In situations like a pandemic, companies need multiple suppliers, particularly for essential supplies. Spikes in demand, temporary trade restrictions, and shortages of critical supplies make consistent supply less reliable. A McKinsey survey shows that 93% of supply chain leaders are looking to improve resilience by dual sourcing (53%), increasing inventory of critical items (47%), nearshoring and increasing their supply base (40%), and regionalizing supply chains (38%).

WHERE TO START

With the COVID-19 spikes, the time to add an additional supplier is now.  According to McKinsey, “Actions taken now to mitigate the impact on supply chains can also build resilience against future shocks.” 

"Without data, you're just another person with an opinion." -W. Edwards Deming

Identify

To begin, businesses must identify at a granular level the items that are at high risk and develop a realistic plan going forward. It is necessary to critically review requirements to identify those that are sourced from high-risk areas and lack ready substitutes. McKinsey recommends developing a risk index for each based on the uniqueness and location of suppliers.

Research

Once you have identified your critical items, there are several factors to consider anytime you add a supplier to your supply chain. There are companies that typically specialize in certain industries or geographies. Finding one that has a deep knowledge and experience in your industry and understands the unique challenges your company faces will help to shorten the onboarding. These companies that already know your industry have experienced staff that is technically trained so they are hyper-focused on what impacts customers.

Learn

In addition to aligning with a company already familiar with your industry, you want to partner with suppliers that diversify their own supply chains in order to provide your company with peace of mind that they can deliver the products you need. They continuously monitor critical-to-business products and practices to limit disruptions and prepare for changes. A company that can provide you with demand forecasting and reports usage information by working closely with customers and manufacturers alike help to limit challenges in the future.

PARTNERING WITH SUPPLIERS

Once you have found a reliable supplier, commit to being transparent and responsive. Suppliers that make good partners often use the same protocol for their own supply chains. Due to their position in the marketplace, they can report potential issues to customers before they can negatively impact the safety of employees or pharmaceutical production. Decision-makers and manufacturers that foster frequent and transparent communication have better outcomes.

Another good practice for both suppliers and customers is to purchase and warehouse additional inventory on items that may have emerging supply constraints. Your supplier should be able to work with you to mitigate most risk. Often is the case in shortages, COVID-19 related products have been placed on a restricted-access list and purchases of these must be cleared by senior management; priority for COVID-19 products typically goes to top customers.

SUPPLY CHAIN RESISTENCE

Most companies are assessing their supply chains and taking action to improve resilience. As a start, they are identifying the products and materials that are at high risk and developing realistic plans going forward. Gartner has identified six strategies. Some best practices include:

  • Diversifying sources for critical components and materials; this includes geographic diversification, partnering with the same supplier, or using secondary sources. Those highly dependent on China are considering a China+1 strategy.
  • Building higher levels of safety stock or strategic inventory reserves of, at the least, critical supplies and “essential” items.
  • Multiple- sourcing, especially for high-risk items, and building partnerships with a few suppliers. In addition to reducing disruption risks, this can have additional benefits such as access to more capabilities, more ideas for cost reductions, etc.
  • They are ensuring that transportation is not a bottleneck. This is one reason companies are looking to have supply options closer to home.

Gartner supply chain resilience chart

05 Oct 2020

Restructuring Disrupted Supply Chains: Single Sourcing is No Longer a Solution

Supply chain management is a critical factor in many businesses’ long-term success, and the COVID-19 global pandemic has wreaked havoc across many industries. When a disaster strikes, everyone suffers: buyers and suppliers alike. Managing disrupted supply chains is top of mind, but it has become more important than ever for companies dealing with PPE, medical supplies, and other “essential” products. In recent surveys, 94% of the Fortune 1000 companies have reported seeing coronavirus-driven supply chain disruptions, and 56% of CFOs identified this as a key issue facing their company (PwC). Risk mitigation has become critical.

“The pandemic has been and will continue to be a major shock to global supply chains and sourcing strategies.” –The Harvard Business Review

When supply chains are disrupted, those who single source, in particular, suffer. There are numerous examples of where this has become an issue, especially for PPE and medical supplies. Many US businesses are looking at the Far East, Mexico, and Central America for additional suppliers. In other categories, Apple is moving a part of its supply chain to India. Indonesia has made dramatic changes to become more “business-friendly.” Mexico and Central America’s proximity makes them more attractive, with lower shipping costs, no duties, and imports that aren’t on the high seas for weeks at a time. PwC and AmCham call this a ‘China+1’ strategy.

Companies are identifying items at risk, developing realistic plans for moving forward, becoming more flexible and agile, gaining greater visibility to suppliers, and more accessible processes for onboarding new ones.

MULTIPLE SOURCING PARTNERSHIPS ENSURE EFFICIENT SUPPLY CHAINS

Quest Safety Products has been proactive in managing its supply lines and inventory by leveraging and expanding its sourcing partnerships.

The Power of the Network

Quest Safety leverages the power of the SafetyNetwork buying group of 55 members. This gives Quest access to manufacturers’ and suppliers’ top-level decision-makers. The buying group shares available inventory to meet customer demand and shares best-in-class, next-level suppliers outside the buying group. The size of the buying group’s orders allow them to negotiate large volume buys such as an N95 mask program with Honeywell or a Container Purchase Program for Nitrile gloves. With 55 members in the networks, customers receive excellent service nearly anywhere in the country.

Global Supply Relationships

Quest Safety works directly with overseas manufacturers to reduce costs and increase availability. We have long-standing relationships with Far East manufacturers. Quest is also in discussions with leading manufacturers in Mexico and Central America to strengthen the supply chain and ensure continuity. Samples are being manufactured for a number of products to ensure quality. These global relationships also help our company better understand events or disruptions occurring outside the US.

Transparent Communication

Quest Safety understands the importance of transparent communication, especially related to the products customers need to operate. This includes discussing any potential issues before they negatively impact the safety of their employees or pharmaceutical production.

COVID-19-related products are on a restricted-access list, and purchases must be cleared by senior management at Quest and top customers get priority.

UNIQUE SUPPLY CHAIN REQUIREMENTS OF THE PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY

Quest Safety Products has developed a deep understanding of the pharmaceutical industry’s needs and requirements through technical training and decades of experience. This enabled Quest to be hyper-focused on what impacts pharmaceutical customers at this time and source high-quality PPE alternatives during recent supply chain outages.

Quest has a conference call with PPE manufacturers every two weeks to understand the supply chain status and work through challenges. The company continually monitors critical-to-business products and practices, doing this every two weeks or monthly with the customer’s end-users or usage committee group. Consistent communication allows Quest to provide demand forecasting and reports usage information by working closely with customers and manufacturers to ensure a smooth flow of information.

MITIGATE RISK THROUGH A CONSISTENT SUPPLY

Most companies are assessing their supply chains and taking action to improve resilience. As a start, they are identifying – at a granular level – the products and materials that are high risk and developing realistic plans going forward. In summary, best practices include:

  • Diversifying sources for critical components and materials; this includes geographic diversification, partnering with the same supplier, or using secondary sources.
  • Those highly dependent on China are considering a China+1 strategy.
    Building higher levels of safety stock or strategic inventory reserves of, at the least, critical supplies and “essential” items.
  • Multiple-sourcing, especially for high risk items, and building partnerships with a few suppliers. In addition to reducing disruption risks, this can have additional benefits such as access to more capabilities, more ideas for cost reductions, etc.
  • Ensuring that transportation is not a bottleneck. This is one reason companies are looking to have supply options closer to home.

When a pharmaceutical company needs to consider adding a vendor to guarantee they get the products they need, Quest is experienced in managing the Supplier Change Process to ensure a smooth addition. If this is something your organization is working though, we are here to help.

Founded in 1997, Quest Safety Products is a full-line distributor and manufacturer of safety products, disposable garmenting, and equipment for any environment that requires safety equipment, risk mitigation or hazmat protection. Quest is a certified SBA HUBZone company, Board Member of AD SafetyNetwork Buying Group, and PSCI member company – Audited. Award winner from Eli Lily, AstraZeneca, NMSDC, HUBZone Council and SBA.