Are you essential?

Feb. 23, 2021

Here we are “officially” a full year deep into the pandemic (even though purists and realists technically could and would have backdated this designation a few months), pondering how much we’ve learned.

If this COVID-19 pandemic – much like its Spanish flu predecessor a century earlier – taught us anything it embodies these two tenets:

1. Following orders is essential – even if those “orders” are suggestions, recommendations and pleas with no compensatory or punitive damages for disobedience save for the spreading of the virus and the needless and senseless deaths of many from non-compliance.

2. Supply chain is essential – something the manufacturing, retail and military industries already acknowledge.

For some, quarantining at home, wearing masks when out and about, maintaining physical/social distance of six to 12 feet apart, washing hands and practicing proper physical hygiene (which includes not touching your face and eyes, picking your nose, biting your fingernails or scratching your hair without immediately washing your hands), seems like logical, normal, selfless behaviors. Unfortunately, not all share this perspective for a variety of reasons that only can be classified as the anathema of the three behaviors listed in the previous sentence.

Three industries recognize the essential nature of supply chain. For two of them – manufacturing and retail, the inability of getting products in the hands of buying consumers/paying customers means that assets emerging from production assembly lines become paperweights booked as liabilities.

For the military, an effective, efficient, flexible and fluid supply chain can turn the tide of battle and war. Examine the art of warfare – ancient and modern. To cripple an opponent, the proponent almost always attacks and disrupts supply lines and transportation early, which includes bridges, railroad tracks and roads as well as notable factories. Disrupting production and supply frustrates demand, which leads to public and societal regress.

In healthcare, each one of us knows better than to allow and accept this because we are all essential.

About the Author

Rick Dana Barlow | Senior Editor

Rick Dana Barlow is Senior Editor for Healthcare Purchasing News, an Endeavor Business Media publication. He can be reached at [email protected].