Lending supply chain expertise to the India COVID relief effort
It started out as a relatively small project—sending oxygen concentrators to a network of family and friends. As we were working on locating the products and figuring out the best way to get it to India, the situation there kept getting worse, and I got contacted by some local NGOs looking to send two planes’ full of supplies to India. A lot of people needed help, and I needed to find out how to help them.
I started tapping my network, reaching out to executives that I had personal connections with and connecting with people in the firm. One AlixPartners MD put me in touch with United Airlines, which had infrastructure support for COVID-19 relief in place and could ship some of the supplies, and another connection referred me to someone at Delta Airlines who referred us to DB Schenker, who was able to help us as well. The process went like that, where I reached out to my contacts, who reached out to their contacts, and so on, until we had the supplies we needed and a way to get them to India in the fastest and cheapest way possible.
I learned how useful my skills as a consultant would be in a situation like this. When I saw people scrambling and going in 15 different directions, I was able to respond by putting together a very detailed plan to source medical supplies from global suppliers, aggregate shipments, airfreight to India, and distribute locally in around 150 cities.
Every time we found a product or boxed a product to ship it, the first thing that came to my mind is, “This will at least save one life.” I never thought I would be in a position where the work I was doing would save someone’s life.