The links of the supply chain

Les maillons de la chaîne d’approvisionnement

Photo: Michael Monnier Duty
New avenues of supply are emerging at the international level, but also asked to québec companies that can adapt their plants to provide a portion of the requested material.

It remains for three days, or seven days, or a little more : one thing is for certain, the reserves of equipment necessary to combat the COVID-19 are low in Quebec. Buy N95 masks ” is going to be a war hard “, warned François Legault last week. So who are the links in the supply chain, under the sign of the urgency ? Lighting.

Who works at the supply to Québec ?

According to the ministry, some 170 people are currently being mobilized to ensure the supply of medical equipment in the various institutions of the province. The team consists of employees of the ministry of Health and members of the three groups “supply common” (GAC) of the health network. In normal times, it is the GAC that involved purchases for the schools they serve.

Who oversees the operations during the crisis ?

To manage the folder, it is a branch of the department which is ” responsible for the strategic supply of personal protective equipment [PPE, such as masks] and medical equipment “, says one. The decree of the state of public health emergency allows the Health minister to ” proceed without delay to the purchase of equipment “.

But buy who ?

This is the problem. Dozens of countries are seeking the same kind of equipment at the same time : the fight is fierce, and force Quebec to find new providers, new intermediaries, particularly in China. “The paths are not simple,” said a source involved in the case.

The department indicates that it continues to work with the three retailers usual of its network. But they are affected like others by the crisis and the scarcity of the material. The supplier Dufort and Lavigne warns, for example, that because of the impact on ” the carriers with whom [it works] “, he cannot ” guarantee the delivery time usual “.

“In the current state of things, Quebec takes everything that’s going on,” said another source. We even bought hundreds of thousands of masks that possessed by the Jean Coutu drugstores.

New avenues of supply are emerging at the international level, but also asked to québec companies that can adapt their plants to provide a portion of the requested material.

What is the role of Ottawa in this chain ?

The federal government is hard at work to help the provinces to get their hands on the equipment sought. Its role is primarily diplomatic : yet on Monday the minister of foreign Affairs stated to have exchanged with his american counterpart on the “crucial need” to ” keep the supply chain intact during the current crisis, especially as it relates to the medical device and PPE “.

But beyond this, Ottawa also has a strategic national stockpile of emergency, where are stored the supplies that provinces can ask in case of need. The government has acknowledged that it was not sufficiently stocked to meet the current crisis, but it nevertheless permits a certain supply to the provinces.

Quebec does not have such a reserve ?

As The Duty the revealed Saturday, there is no reserve provincial equipment such as PPE. This does not however preclude that health facilities may have reserves (like the CHU Sainte-Justine showed last week). According to the ministry, the current lack of hardware is explained in part by the fact that the network currently consumes ” in a month the PPE that he usually consumes in a year “.

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