New Web-Based Platform, CovidPPEHelp, Aims to Ease Supply Chain Information Bottlenecks for Personal Protective Equipment.
April 22, 2020
Toronto – A new platform to improve the flow of supply chain information for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as surgical masks has been developed by faculty members at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management. CovidPPEHelp is designed to enable better information flows by providing an easy-to-use marketplace that will connect Canadian customers, suppliers, logistics services, and potential donors. The platform aims to alleviate the information bottlenecks that currently afflict the PPE supply chain, with the dramatic increase in demand for the items as the Covid-19 pandemic continues.
CovidPPEHelp is online at www.covidppehelp.ca, ready for suppliers, customers, and donors to register and upload their information.
Professors Philipp Afèche, Opher Baron, Ming Hu, and Dmitry Krass are supply chain management experts in the Operations Management and Statistics area at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management who volunteered their time to create the platform, with the volunteer support of expert web developers including Matthew Crack, Vlad Giller, Val Kobylianskii, and Michael Zmitrovich. The platform will be supported by a team of Ph.D. and Master’s students.
The CovidPPEHelp marketplace allows customers and supliers to list requested or offered products and provide a date by which this product is required or would be available. Making this information visible to all participants in the PPE supply chain helps improve the matching of PPE supply with demand, thereby minimizing shortages and enabling safer social interactions. Moreover, donors can help sponsor specific transactions such as those in support of a local business.
The key to making social interactions safer during the COVID‐19 pandemic is to use PPE. This is critically important as the vast majority of infected individuals are asymptomatic and therefore cannot know whether they pose a risk to others. However, the existing PPE supply chain was not only designed for lower demand, it also suffers from poor information flows. Customers are not sure which suppliers can meet their demand. Suppliers are not sure how to connect to customers, what they require, and how best to supply them, making it difficult to make intelligent production capacity decisions.
The Rotman School of Management is part of the University of Toronto, a global centre of research and teaching excellence at the heart of Canada’s commercial capital. Rotman is a catalyst for transformative learning, insights and public engagement, bringing together diverse views and initiatives around a defining purpose: to create value for business and society. For more information, visit www.rotman.utoronto.ca.
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Manager, Media Relations
Rotman School of Management
University of Toronto