PPE Case Study

September 18, 2020

The All Hazards Consortium's leadership wanted to get industry and government leadership up to speed on the latest innovation to address the PPE sourcing problem for both Buyers and Supplier/Manufactures of PPE.

The AHC's working groups have developed a “uber -like” rapid sourcing model for institutional buyers that connects vetted PPE Buyers and Suppliers into a secure framework that helps buyers get multiple competitive quotes for their PPE request within minutes vs. hours/days.

All Hazards Consortium
Board of Directors

Chris Geldart
DC Public Works
Director
Mike Ambrosio
Retired
Wakefern Food Corp
Vice President
Kelly McKinney
NYU Langone Medical
Treasurer
Chris Eisenbrey
Edison Electric Institute
Secretary
Joe Picciano
Private Sector
Ira Tannenbaum
New York City
Emergency Management
Christy Morris
Retired
West Virginia DMAPS
Jim Sheehan
New Jersey UASI
Joe Bruno
Hellen Keller Services
Roland “Bud” Mertz
Westmoreland County
Public Safety
Executive Director
Tom Moran

Summary

The nationwide PPE shortage caused by the first phase of the COVID-19 pandemic created the urgent need for coordinated industry and government innovation and research to produced a faster, safer environment for commerce between PPE Institutional Buyers and Suppliers across the U.S.

Background

The PPE problem is a complex supply chain problem involving issues with supply, demand, quality control, distribution, and overall logistics. Both industry and government were competing for the same limited PPE resources.
Responding to requests from its stakeholders, the AHC quickly formed multiple use case committees of PPE Buyers and PPE Suppliers/Manufacturers to understand both sides of the problem.
Why was the AHC asked to help?

Since 2016, the AHC’s SISE (Sensitive Information Sharing Environment) trust framework has invited both industries and states to solve complex operational problems in a trusted, non-fault, operations only environment.

The SISE has proven to be a safe sustained planning environment that engages  cross-disciplinary operational personnel (and in this case PPE Buyers & Suppliers) in joint problem-solving discussions that most times leads to real world results within six-eight months.

After just four meetings, an approach was decided that met the needs of all stakeholders involved.

The final solution design provided a secure, "uber-like" platform that leveraged a national vetted directory of PPE Suppliers/Manufactures already in the SISE and allow vetted PPE Buyers to get "competitive quotes" on common PPE requested items within minutes.

Additionally, the final solutions would be scalable to address an ever increasing amount of participants and/or resource request (e.g. PPE, generators, fuel, lodging, storage facilities, dry ice, cleaning/disinfectant services, etc...).

The private sector stakeholders of the SISE working group provided the resources and data needed to create this unique prototype.

 Board of Directors 

Chris Geldart
DC Public Works
Director

Mike Ambrosio
Wakefern Food Corp
Vice President

Kelly McKinney
NYU Langone Medical
Treasurer

Chris Eisenbrey
Edison Electric Institute
Secretary

Joe Picciano
Private Sector

Ira Tannenbaum
New York City
Emergency Management

Christy Morris
Retired
West Virginia DMAPS

Jim Sheehan
New Jersey UASI

Joe Bruno
Hellen Keller Services

Roland “Bud” Mertz
Westmoreland County
Public Safety

Executive Director
Tom Moran

Background

Since 2016, the AHC’s SISE (Sensitive Information Sharing Environment) trust framework has invited both industries and states to solve complex operational problems in a trusted, non-fault, operations only environment. 

The SISE has provided a safe sustained planning environment that engages of cross-disciplinary operational personnel in joint problem-solving discussions that most times leads to real world results within six-eight months.
The PPE Use Case is a complex supply chain problem with supply, demand, quality and logistics (including distribution) challenges with high competition for the same PPE resources.
The AHC quickly formed multiple use case committees of PPE Buyers and PPE Suppliers and Manufacturers to understand both sides of the problem. After four meetings, an approach was decided. The private sector provided the tools and data needed to create a unique prototype specifically designed to support any emergency resource type, starting with PPE.
Future AHC “resource/commodity exchanges” are already being discussed for commercial generators, fuel distribution, and lodging.

CONCEPT OF OPERATIONS

  • Operates in an “uber-like” fashion.
  • ​Vetted users subscribe to the program as PPE Buyers or Suppliers.
  • ​Buyers submit PPE requests via online app.
  • ​PPE Exchange immediately alerts 6500+ national Suppliers of the new PPE request.
  • ​PPE Suppliers are trained to reply to the request only if they have the requested items in inventory, a unit price, ready to ship from a U.S. location (must provide the address).
  • ​Buyers are alerted of new requests, can see all replies related to a specific Request ID#.
  • ​The buyer then selects the suppliers they like and contacts them directly to arrange a purchase.

USER FEEDBACK

 "This service could be a game changer for us.” S.A Barret, Health Sector

"Having a safer trusted environment to do business saves us time and allows us to avoid scams that all
suppliers of PPE are facing." R. Black, PPE Supplier

"This type of service approach will expedite sourcing of almost anything in the future in
a faster, safer way." M. Zappone, Energy Sector.

"The cost for this service is a no-brainer when compared to the time most organizations will spend to find
competitive quotes this fast.” S.A Barret, Health Sector

OPERATIONAL BENEFITS

  • Fast: Uses new secure high speed, near-real-time PPE sourcing service that gets 6500+ vetted suppliers in U.S. to compete for validated Buyer requests within minutes.
  • Reduces Risks for Buyers: Reduces overall PPE sourcing risks by working only with trusted vetted PPE suppliers who have been trained and who have agreed to the operating rules.
  • Reduces Risks for Suppliers: Supplier know they are getting PPE requests from vetted and qualified buyers instead of competitors, price checkers, or other questionable sources.
  • Reduces Your Staff Time: This service produces multiple competitive PPE quotes from qualified U.S. PPE Suppliers in minutes…. instead of you spending many hours/days trying to get and compare prices on your own. Based on Buyer feedback, staff costs can be reduced 50% to 80%.
  • Expedites Emergency Procurement: The service sends out buyer request(s) and aggregates multiple competitive bids/offers from vetted U.S. suppliers within minutes. Buyers can issue PPE purchase requests faster and stay compliant with their procurement policies that require getting multiple competitive bids before proceeding with a procurement/award.
  • Safe: Reduces your operational and financial risks via the use of a more trusted, vetted, and managed sourcing framework.
  • Unique: Based on Buyer feedback, this is the fastest, most secure, competitive nationwide digital PPE sourcing service like this in the U.S.
  • Secure: All buyers and suppliers are vetted multiple ways to ensure the ongoing trust.
  • Reliable: Only "ready-to-ship-immediately" responses from U.S. locations are allowed. Request For Quote (RFQ): All Request For Quote (RFQ) are made with payment of RFQ credits from vetted buyers. Managed environment by the AHC.
  • ​Low Costs/No Subscription Fees: Uses a pay-per-use price model with pre-paid low-cost Request For Quote (RFQ) credits that can be used whenever needed instead of high monthly/annual fees.
  • Trusted/Streamlined Framework: Developed by the AHC with inputs from industry and government PPE buyers and suppliers, the PPE Exchange will provide a more secure, trusted, faster and cost-effective nationwide sourcing framework for PPE and other resources in the future.
  • Response Guarantee: Request For Quote (RFQ) Credits replenished if you get no replies to a Request For Quote (RFQ).
  • Proven: Operated by All Hazards Consortium (AHC), a 15 year old 501(c)3 non-profit that works with 45,000+ stakeholders in industry and state/federal government agencies during disasters.

CURRENT PROTOTYPE CAPABILITY

- Phase 1:

  • ​Leverages the data from the SISE ESRI platform
  • ​The primary front-end education
  • ​User management system 
  • ​The buyer & supplier enrollment process 
  • ​The buyer & supplier request/reply process
  • And a basic administration area design

- Phase 2:

  • ​Add user ranking and feedback system for self-governance and monitoring
  • ​Create a mobile app capability
  • ​Integrate with Commercial Routing Assistance (CRA) application to support PPE delivery routing for truckers by including route resistance data as part of supplier selection decision process (a big delay issue during Mar-Jun)

- Phase 3

  • ​Create a similar Exchange sourcing model integrated with the CRA for:
  • ​Commercial generator providers
  • ​Fuel truck distributors

PROCESS TIMELINE

  • ​Concept design and requirements development in Mar/Apr 2020
  • Alpha and Beta testing with six states and 40 companies during May-July 2020
  • July/Aug 2020 operational testing, which produced 20+ corrections and updates.
  • ​May- Ongoing 2020: PPE Buyer and Supplier working groups have been meeting weekly to test and evaluate
  • ​September 2020: Final Pilot program with low-cost offer to encourage exposure and enrollment
Future AHC “resource/commodity exchanges” are already being discussed for commercial generators, fuel distribution, and lodging.

WEBSITE

2020 Solutions Produced by
All Hazards Consortium Working Groups

During the COVID-19 pandemic alone, the All Hazards Consortium (AHC) and it working group stakeholders have rapidly started multiple initiatives to address a variety of pandemic driven operational problems in the areas of trusted information sharing, policy, transportation, research, and PPE sourcing.

Leveraging the AHC's SISE (Sensitive Information Sharing Environment)  and its "Use Case" based problem-solving process, AHC stakeholders produced the following results (see below).
1. COVID-19 ESRI National Vetted Information Hub – aggregates, vettes, and updates daily COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 related declarations, waivers, restrictions etc. from multiple trusted data sources to inform decision makers with data driven tools and dashboards.
2. Commercial Routing Assistance (CRA) App – assists drivers and transportation planners with routing through states with various pandemic restrictions, closures, social distancing, etc.… 
3. COVID-19 Operational Impacts Survey Tool for Businesses to States – provides industry an opportunity to submit direct, candid, anonymous operational feedback to state policymakers on impacts to businesses from state/local executive order and decrees to help them better understand how their decisions can affect jobs, employment and tax revenues.
  • Status: Operational. No cost to SISE vetted community.
3. AHC/INL Licensing Agreement for CRA App – agreement to support commercialization and sustainment of the CRA app with private sector AHC partners. 
  • Status: Complete, awaiting final approvals. 
4. National Vetted PPE Directory Service – a national, vetted online directory/dashboard to locate 39,000+ PPE manufacturers, distributors, and suppliers in the US, view only. 
  • Status: Operational, both free and subscription-based versions
5. National Vetted PPE Directory Data Service – a data service to download the above PPE directory. 
  • Status: Operational, subscription-based only
6. National Vetted PPE Exchange Service – an UBER-like marketplace service that provides PPE Buyers with multiple competitive bids/offers within minutes vs. hours/days. It reduces procurement risks, expedites emergency procurements requiring multiple bids, and helps users stay compliant with internal procurement policies and processes.
  • Status: Operational, Pay-per-Use Soft launch Sept 2020.
7. Fleet Movement COVID-19 Threats/Resources App – an ESRI based map, customized to a company routing needs, plots the routes, displays threats, and resources along the route, uses open sources and sensitive data in a single application. Operational testing now for LAURA and SALLY with several utilities. Help states support fleet movements (e.g., reduce delays at weigh stations).  
  • Status: Operational, in operational testing with private sector
8. Regional Economic Recovery with Financial Data Initiative – Use Case Committee formed to look at using private sector credit transaction data to help states monitor where commerce is increasing/decreasing on a weekly basis during COVID-19.
  • Status: Ongoing discussions.
9. Mutual Assistance Coordination with States Initiative – formed Use Case Committee to address potential COVID-19 delays with state health officials and electric sector reps from EEI (Edison Electric Institute). 
  • Status: Ongoing discussions.
9. STORM Central App Rev 2.0 – development of rev 2.0 of current STORM Central website, streamline info gathering via trusted crowdsourcing with state EOC’s, reduces emails. 
  • Status: Ongoing development.
10. The SISE-net Initiative – connecting the SISE directly into state emergency operations centers and industry operations centers along with the DHS.
  • Status: Ongoing discussions. PA to come online Oct 2020.
11. COVID-19 Resilience Discussion Series Webinars – educational COVID-19 resilience discussions with state and multiple sectors, conducted 20+ sessions.
  • Status: Ongoing planning.
12. SISE State Private Section Liaisons Use Case Committee – expanded to include EOC liaisons reps from PA, MD, DC, VA, NC, FL, OR, AL, IL, LA, MS. Work on public/private Use Cases with industry, including reducing fiber cuts, regional pre-staging of private-sector resource before disasters, lodging, expediting operational information flow, connect WebEOC to SISE, training, and real-time situational awareness. 
  • Status: Operational, ongoing planning.
13. 2021 National Resilience Summit: Originally planned for June 2020 in Baltimore, moved to January 2021. The Resilience Summit will provide an annual forum to support industry and government resilience-related topics, education/ training, project reviews, solution demonstrations, and DHS CISA updates to industry and states on key initiatives or concerns.  
  • Status: Ongoing planning.
14. Establishment of an Applied Operational Research Institute: Establish an applied research institute to coordinate federal and private sector investments across complex national issues or topics. 
  • Status: AHC Board has approved the formation of the AHC Applied Operational Research Institute (the AHCi). Ongoing planning. 
15. Consolidating State-based 511 Traffic Data Initiative – A unique research effort to develop a single national map of the best state DOT based transportation situation awareness data in 49 states. Traffic/road data is critical to disaster response/recovery. State 511 sites provide the most reliable traffic data during disasters vs other 3rd party sites. Private sector logistics coordinators and transportation planners will no longer need to switch from separate second-tier national maps/sites. The capability will now provide to a single, more reliable data layer in the SISE of live state 511 traffic/road information. 
  • Status: Developing.

Attachment 2: OPERATIONALIZING ESF 14

The AHC’s leadership is fully committed to continue its goal of operationalizing ESF 14 and producing tangible, operational use cases and solutions for both industry and government.
ESF 14 Purpose:
“Emergency Support Function (ESF) #14 supports the coordination of cross-sector operations, including stabilization of key supply chains and community lifelines, among infrastructure owners and operators, businesses, and their government partners.”
-Excerpt from DHS CISA ESF#14 Overview Document.
ESF 14 Intended Outcomes:
The ESF 14 doctrine outlined what the private sector has been looking for a long while: reducing their overall risks by ongoing planning, information sharing, and coordinating research, data analytics, and response operations with states and federal agencies whenever possible, to produce operational results.
“Intended Outcomes: ESF #14 provides unique services to enhance response operations. ESF #14 is a platform that engages the private sector, leverages existing resources and capabilities within the affected community, and provides analytical capabilities focused on interdependencies. These activities support other existing Federal and state procedures.” 
-Excerpt from DHS CISA ESF#14 Overview Document.
Background
At the end of the 2017 hurricane season, the AHC, along with 30+ partners submitted a letter of recommendation that included suggested improvements on how FEMA and DHS CISA could
improve cross-sector communications and coordination with industry and states during emergency and non-emergency scenarios.
With input from the AHC and many other sources, FEMA/ DHS CISA shortly developed the ESF 14 concept and rolled it out in 2018.
Since that time, the AHC and its SISE working group, have been focused on operationalizing the ESF 14 doctrine at the regional and state levels with states and industry on specific problems or use cases.
The ongoing cross-sector working groups and use case committees have been developing new use cases and solving problems with state and federal agency participation, especially over the past several months with the COVID-19 pandemic. 
ESF 14 & the AHC
ESF 14 doctrine was adopted by the AHC Board of Directors and its working groups in early 2019. 
The FEMA “life-lines” and DHS CISA “national critical functions” have been used to align SISE Use Cases to federal priorities and as an education tool to help industry understand how DHS CISA works to help them reduce risks by supporting their planning, response and recovery functions incidents that affect their organizations, their supply chains, and their communities.
How the AHC Uses ESF 14
The private sector understands that most of their operational actions during disasters require close coordination with multiple state agencies (who don’t always coordinate well in some states), but in coordination with the appropriate federal partners (who don’t always coordinate well). 
This doesn’t always happen on periodic disaster calls. Ongoing planning and problem solving needs to happen year-round.
Starting with joint planning and closed discussions these working groups will focus on operational problems facing industry or states, Use Cases are developed that form the overall framework to work the problem towards one or several solutions, leverage existing R&D, identify existing solutions, create partnerships, and build trust between the invested participant.
The entire process is based upon sustained private sector supported planning, problem solving, results and trust.
Enabling Trusted Problem Solving
The SISE’s “integrated planning capability” has been fundamental to the “trust” between government and industry.
According to the private sector, it is the trust that is missing, not the data, the technology, the policies, the processes, or the products. These all help but do not often sustain when people rotate in and out of their jobs or roles within their respective organizations. Once trust between people is achieved, problem-solving is accelerated dramatically.
Problems are solved (or show progress being made), the participants want to repeat the process again, and again, and again.
Results - Inter-Dependency Awareness
ESF#14 doctrine with the SISE has helped create an “interdependency awareness” across electric, telecommunications, fuel, food, transportation, finance, health, water, lodging, retail, and logistics by utilizing professionals that have been involved in the Use Case development process within the SISE. 
Results - State Adoption
In early 2018, the SISE created a new Use Case Committee comprised of state private sector liaisons who work in state emergency management agencies to work with the Fleet Response Working Group to address issues around fleet movement across state lines. This group started with liaisons in FL, NC, VA, MD, & PA who met weekly for 18 months. Using ESF 14 as part of the strategy, this committee became instrumental to the private sector’s operational problem-solving weekly calls during “blue-sky” days and response partners during disasters. Today this committee has expanded to include LA, MS, AL, OE, IL and AR. 
Results – Operational Solutions Produced 
Solving operational problems is what both industry and government operations professionals desire, along with their leadership. The SISE has created a private sector managed “safe space” for candid discussions over complex problems between government and industry stakeholders. The ESF #14 doctrine has created the policy framework government needed at the federal level to organize resources in support of the coordination of cross-sector operations, communications, planning, research and resource/information sharing. This has provided the credibility and legal support that can attract private sector investment of time, energy, etc.… In this environment, the SISE has produced multiple use cases , 100+ solutions, dozens of partnerships and provided government a unique way to gets things done faster while leveraging a willing private sector community that I willing to share the results.
Results – Lowered Risks
Lowering risk is s shared objective of government and industry. Yet, when people are honest about it, lowering risk is not always easy to prove or validate. The private sector views risk differently than government many times. Universally, industry and government stakeholders in the SISE like to measure risk reduction using simple metrics: reductions of labor hours, hard costs, process delays, brand damage, personnel safety, customers and increases in process efficiencies, customer satisfaction, safety, brand enhancement, etc…. Each of the SISE solutions were created to reduce operational risks and/or increase operational benefits. Many solutions don’t make the cut or have to be enhanced in order to get fully implemented and sustained.
For example: The SISE has created three PPE solutions to date:
  • PPE solution #1 – created a PPE supplier directory of vetted suppliers
  • PPE solution #2 – created a data service to download the solution 1 data into your systems
  • PPE solution #3 - created a “uber-like” PPE exchange that produces valid PPE quotes within minutes.  
  • Solution #1 was interesting, but few used it. User provided feedback. Planning continued.
  • Solution #2 was also interesting, but few subscribed to the service. Users provided feedback. Planning continued. 
  • Solution #3 was unique and provides a clear and measurable risk reductions (vetted Suppliers, legal agreements/disclaimers) along with measurable process enhancements and cost efficiencies (reduced PPE related staff time by 50% to 80%, reduced labor costs, competitive bids in minutes vs days)
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About AHC

All Hazards Consortium, a 501(c)(3) organization, fosters an environment where industry and government can collaborate on cross-sector issues, explore interdependencies, broaden situational awareness, lower operational risks, prioritize investments and enhance infrastructure security and resilience via public/private planning, training, exercises and research.

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