The Defense Logistics Agency is working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Health and Human Services to replenish the nearly depleted Strategic National Stockpile with personal protective equipment as the nation continues responding to COVID-19.
From July to late August, DLA Troop Support Clothing and Textiles and Construction and Equipment supply chains awarded contracts for nearly 4.5 billion medical gloves, 5.2 million face shields, 260 million face masks and 900,000 disposable gowns. The items are scheduled for phased delivery to SNS warehouses by November, said Howard Page, C&E’s director of Supplier Operations.
“DLA is aggressively working with its vendors to ensure the requirements of the SNS can be met timely,” he said. “The market conditions have impacted vendor reliability and lead-times, but we are maximizing all that industry can offer to meet the collective PPE requirements of the U.S. Government.”
On September 11, DLA awarded additional contracts to five American manufacturers to provide up to 15 million COVID-19 reusable isolation gowns for the SNS. And on September 14, nine contracts were awarded to American businesses to provide up to 275 million disposable isolation gowns. Delivery of all of the gowns will be complete by January 2021.
The SNS supplements state and local supplies during public health emergencies like COVID-19 for short-term use when adequate supplies are not readily available, according to the HHS public health emergency website.
DLA worked with HHS to validate supply sources and ensure the technical requirements for each item were met to provide sufficient protection for healthcare workers, Page said.
Third party logistics provider Travis Association for the Blind, in Austin, Texas, stores and distributes personal protective equipment to three SNS warehouses in Utah, Indiana and Mississippi, said Denise Vogelei, C&T 3PL contracting officer.
“We have daily calls on this topic, and every day Travis sends a tracking spreadsheet that captures incoming and outgoing shipments, pallet quantities, locations of deliveries to the SNS warehouses, etc.,” Vogelei said.
DLA closely coordinates deliveries to SNS warehouses with HHS as the number of daily receipts and orders constantly change, said Paul Diak, C&T supervisory customer account specialist.
“SNS locations can only schedule so many trucks, so we have been working closely with HHS modifying schedules on the fly, and our 3PL provider has been very accommodating,” he added.