“With a clear demand signal, manufacturers and distributors can meet the nation’s PPE needs for terrorism response, pandemics, large-scale industrial accidents and other federal activities in line with national emergency preparedness and response strategies.”
The International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) is urging Congress to implement a real-time government PPE demand forecasting system to provide a clear, aggregated PPE demand signal so that manufacturers and distributors of PPE can craft the means to meet equipment needs before, during, and after an emergency health event.
ISEA’s comments and recommendations were submitted to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions in response to Sen. Lamar Alexander’s White Paper on Preparing for the Next Pandemic.
“With a clear demand signal, manufacturers and distributors can meet the nation’s PPE needs for terrorism response, pandemics, large-scale industrial accidents and other federal activities in line with national emergency preparedness and response strategies,” according to ISEA.
ISEA recommends a government demand planning tool combine historical purchase information, available inventory information, disease event profile and epidemiological forecasts, along with logistics and supply chain knowledge. It is suggested that the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) lead healthcare and general-use PPE partners to gather data and build a demand forecast.
“With private sector stakeholder engagement and transparency in the procurement planning process, raw material suppliers, manufacturers and distributors can meet the nation’s pandemic planning needs,” according to ISEA. “Engaged demand planning will reduce situations of hoarding, of low-priority users getting orders fulfilled over high-need communities or having government agencies bidding against each other.”
Other ISEA recommendations specific to stockpiles, distribute, and surges include:
- Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI) should be specified
- Performance metrics of warehousing are needed.
- The government should convene a group respiratory protection, protective garment, glove, and eye-and-face protection manufacturers to speak about the manufacturing of these devices, and the upstream supply chain and the downstream value chain.
- The federal government needs to better identify the schedule of rotation for stockpiled items and suggested re-entry guidelines
- Congress should require SNS to create a single data system that is used across the country and is common to most businesses.
- The federal government should consider a wide range of products protecting the end users against the type of threat they may face.
- Congress should approve legislation that funds the SNS at a predictable, steady state and beyond the budgetary whims of any one administration.
- SNS managers and Congress should regularly receive input from raw material suppliers, manufacturers and distributors on types of items in the SNS, and how long they should be held.
ISEA also requested Congress consider liability concerns and data security. ISEA believes strongly Congress must provide liability protection for all items CDC recommends for pandemic response. And, with data security a primary concern for industry partners, any pandemic preparedness legislation moving forward should respect the confidential data that could be shared with emergency response planners and make certain such data is protected from public access.