Students from The Blue Team share their aspirations and details about their upcoming tour after winning INSEAD’s Summer Startup Tour (SSUP) 2020
The COVID Crisis
When the COVID-19 crisis emerged, the four students from the Blue Team had just started their journey at INSEAD with aspirations of creating a positive impact in the world. As the COVID situation evolved, the fragility of the healthcare system was exposed, highlighted by shortages of resources such as ICU beds and basic personal protective equipment (PPE). As countries entered lockdown to ‘flatten the curve’, the importance and the fragility of the supply chain of healthcare urgent response items became more apparent. Several organizations across the globe are racing against time in order to find solutions to relieve the pressure off healthcare systems, a task that is both complex and difficult.
Motivated to Get Involved
With the lockdown phase halting ‘normal life’ in several countries, and the grave economic implications across the globe, the repercussions of a malfunctioning healthcare system became clearer than ever. This motivated the Blue Team to examine the current landscape in order to better understand the major causes and the bottlenecks in health systems. Issues of an overburdened system from critical supplies such as PPE and ventilators, to workforce numbers, frontline staff and manufacturing and distribution quickly became evident. Moreover, the system often depends on offshore production or a limited geographical area for manufacturing or sourcing raw materials with redundancy built into the system.
These aforementioned factors are particularly salient to examine given the repercussions resulting from destabilizing factors known as the four P’s: Powerful weather, Pandemic, Port closures and Political instability. Pre-COVID-19, these disruptions have been overlooked, but during COVID-19 they have demonstrated the importance of having a flexible supply chain. With this in mind, the Blue Team pitched their Summer Startup Tour topic to the Hoffmann Institute, and were offered the sponsorship.
Prior to the tour, the Team engaged in an Independent Student Project (ISP) supervised by Professor Stephen Chick in order to assess emergency supply chain response, and map out the major players in the field. The team is also receiving guidance from Ridhima Aggarwal from INSEAD’s Healthcare Management Initiative, who has been instrumental in helping create a link between the academic and business world in the healthcare industry. The ISP helps the Team gain a better understanding of current efforts underway and opportunities available for startups in the area of emergency supply chain response and relief control. With this knowledge, they plan to spend the summer identifying gaps and exploring startup solutions to improve the agility, flexibility and responsiveness of healthcare supply chain components such as production, capital productivity, purchasing, product development and planning.
The team will begin their Summer Startup Tour at Station F in Paris, meeting startups, such as Flowity and Promedeo that are currently reshaping the use of data within supply chain planning. They will then move on to Milan and Amsterdam to learn about operating methods, challenges faced by corporates and startups digitalizing warehousing and smart inventory tracking in various industries respectively. This will allow them to learn from corporates such as Vattenfall and Philips, and startups such as BeSure, Pharmap and Multiply Labs. Finally ending the tour in Berlin with the help of the INSEAD Alumni network to meet startups and gain insights from startups trying to revolutionize and disrupt current supply chains while decreasing waste and increasing sustainability in supply chains, while also visiting startups in the healthcare industry like Medbelle, Samedi, Scoutbee and BOX ID.
With this, they hope to understand the status quo and present potential solutions that create a more effective process. In the words of the Blue Team, “We are excited by the challenge of looking at something that companies have always been doing – supply chain – and revolutionize it into an agile and flexible process.”
Follow The Blue Team, and other winners of the 'SSUP! 4.0 edition 2020 on their exciting journey and SSUP Tour here!