Managing Supply Chain Disruptions during COVID

Posted by By Subbramanium on May 05 , 2021

One of our clients faced a sudden surge in demand for Oxygen cylinder and refilling due to the pandemic and unforeseen sudden spike in COVID-19 cases in India. Order booking and enquiries surged by 600% , and reduced office personnel made it difficult for logistics and follow ups. Here’s a gist of what problems we faced and how we helped our client to improve operational efficiency by automation and analytics

Issues faced by the supplier

The client supplies oxygen cylinders at all scales and has customers across the country. They also carry out other activities like refilling the tank, bringing back the empty tank and handling expired cylinders etc., The services are provided across all areas like hospitals, homes and elderly care centers.

The Client faces a substantial amount of challenges in carrying out the tasks as most of them are carried out manually. Unfortunately almost half of their orders are unable to reach the customers on time. Customers are not satisfied with their service, because they are facing difficulties in keeping track of refilling orders and follow up after distribution.

They are struggling to keep up with the sudden surge of demand due to the certain challenges they face on a daily basis

Unstructured delivery management

The client didn't realize that they spent a majority of time doing unstructured work. They carried out the delivery management manually with spreadsheets and it led to frequent data loss. Day to day tasks of a field agent like delivering the tank to refilling, payment collection is left unclear. This inefficiency created a huge communication gap between them and their customers. No planning frequently led to faulty execution.

Operations visit reduced

Commonwealth fund study showed that the total number of operations visit reduced by 60% from the first month of the pandemic. Forecasts show that it could reach 80% within the end of the second wave.

Managers face extreme difficulty to keep track of their client's needs. Field agents however have to collect the client's requirements to provide the service. Size of their field team exceeds hundreds. So automatically due to the strict lockdown protocols agents were unable to provide client updates and the status to their managers. The ability to reach out to clients for filling and collecting tanks is literally reduced into half.

They didn't have a platform to constantly track the client remotely. This led to a major setback in their entire business.

Unable to keep track of delivery and refilling orders

Leaning on manual data collection processes from their agents like phone calls and messages and a spreadsheet left them out of their competition. Managers had no clear idea of the delivery history and the future orders. This ultimately resulted in data loss and costly errors.

The constant struggle faced by their delivery manager is to track the current location of their agents and the equipment. Most of the orders are delivered at the nick of time. The inability to monitor the real time location of the cylinder made the manager's life even harder to track refilling date and to allocate services.

No visibility of oxygen cylinder location

Once the cylinders are dispatched, there is no way to collect the metrics of the apparatus like the usage, the quantity remaining or even the current location of the tank. Hence, the current status cannot be tracked. It sadly results in high replacement cost, decreased efficiency and poor customer service

Once the cylinders are dispatched, there isn't a way to collect the metrics of the apparatus like current usage level, the remaining quantity or even the current location. Hence there is no possibility to track the current status. It sadly resulted in high replacement cost, decreased efficiency and poor customer service.

Because they sell a commodity that lacks differentiation, it becomes difficult to track if they didn't have an efficient solution to tackle the problem.

The Unparalleled solution explained

Fieldproxy approached the client to understand their requirements and recommended a clear one stop platform that irons out all their problems in the pipeline with a powerful automated software. The client doesn't have to look for supporting software for maintaining records, tracking the live location, maintaining agents attendance etc., The solution has to be easily adaptable to the client and would need to provide a platform to maintain their whole supply chain management.

Let's check out how the whole company benefits from a single tool which in turn reduces the manual efforts by manifold.

Automate the delivery and refilling

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As the demand for life saving oxygen tanks is higher than ever, the service workers are pushing hard day after day. No matter how hard they work, they still fall short of what they have planned. This is where automation comes to the rescue.

High end automated software like Fieldproxy has workflows specifically designed for managing the medical apparatus that is used for treating COVID patients. The system keeps track of all the details of the apparatus like date of manufacture, current working status and refilling date. Based on the date, the software automatically plans the date and time of the next delivery.

Delivery and refilling automation

Managers can create tasks according to their needs and connect them to make a complete workflow. The agents will be empowered with an efficient mobile app that helps them collect all the customer details like name, mobile number, identity even their RT-PC reports. Volunteers information can also be stored in parallel.

Delivery can be entirely automated by collecting details like cylinder number along with the image, delivery date, deposit collected etc,. If there is a refilling required, based on the customer usage data, the software automatically calculates the date of refilling and notifies the manager in advance. The system conducts repeated checks without manual intervention to ensure there is no miss in delivery.

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Extensive tools in dashboard to track client status

Owing to the lockdown, there is a massive decrease in operations and service visits. The tool constantly collects the data from the agents and represents it in a graphical way. Managers can use the powerful tool to review crucial details such as refilling date, service due date, pending supplies etc,. This provides a complete picture of the client status and avoid agents to carry out unwanted visits. Clients were able to cut the delay completely with detailed analytics.

Location tracking and map view

Keeping track of the current location of the cylinders is more painful than one could ever imagine. Fieldproxy provided an excellent cloud based solution to precisely monitor the apparatus as well as the agent. The software uses the GPS to precisely track the current location of the oxygen tanks along with the client images and displays in an easy to track map view dashboard.

Agents can even mark their Check in and Check out details along with their images, which the managers can get instant updates

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Reminders and notifications

Studies show that out of 10 orders, only 4 arrive exactly in time even in the cases of emergency. It is too difficult to achieve precise delivery considering the volume they handle on a daily basis. There will be no clear visibility on the current location of cylinders and client status. Most of the deliveries are carried out in a rush, as it becomes mundane to handle the delivery accurately when carried out manually.

The sensible solution for this problem is to use a software that reminds you by sending automatic alerts so that you ensure to deliver precisely on time. Managers can schedule the jobs to the agents weeks or even months before the events. With Fieldproxy, you can set up reminder alerts for literally every tasks like

  • Reorder when the quantity falls below the threshold
  • Date of delivery
  • Receive notifications for refilling
  • For collecting empty cylinders etc
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The results

Time saver

The power of automation enables you to save a huge amount of time and effort that usually goes vain when done manually. Repetitive tasks eat up a huge chunk of time like manual scheduling and report collecting. After using Fieldproxy, organizations have reported

  • Reduction of processing time by 60%
  • Reduction of manual efforts by 55% within first month
  • 60% increase in the total volumes handled

Scheduling and organizing made easy

With Fieldproxy's scheduling feature, managers can make strategic plans for their agents to overcome backward planning and delayed execution. All the tasks were well regulated. Agents have a clear plan for their day and it resulted in

  • 80% increase in their productivity
  • Pre planned routes stopped the delay

Precise location tracking and data points analysing

Manual analysing of location of the clients, agents and the equipment are extremely tiring and inaccurate, not to mention the amount of effort it takes to maintain those records. With Fieldproxy's AI powered location tracking feature, the location can be effortlessly gathered for analysing.

Manage with Fieldproxy

Fieldproxy manages all your field operations, including location tracking, client data management, worker productivity, time and expense tracking, and much more. Fieldproxy is designed to be easy to use.

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