Why Asset Tracking Technology is Critical for the COVID-19 Vaccine

The United States and the rest of the world are about to undertake possibly the single largest logistics endeavor in human history. Not since World War II has the world seen distribution efforts on such a grand scale. In the U.S. alone, the planning and human resources required to disseminate 300 million COVID-19 vaccine doses across all 50 states will dwarf anything attempted in the past.

If the challenges faced by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Defense were just logistical, they’d be mounting an uphill battle. There’s more to the problem, however.

Both Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines must be kept cold during shipment. Frigid. Moderna’s entry needs to be chilled to -4°F — challenging but manageable. However, Pfizer’s offering, which was the first to be approved, must be maintained at -94°F throughout its voyage. If the temperature varies at any point, spoilage is a possibility, and if compromised shipments go unnoticed, there’s the risk of ineffective vaccinations.

The DoD can leverage the cold chain infrastructure, but significant new resources must be enlisted to meet Operation Warp Speed’s vaccination goals. It’s a staggering undertaking, but asset tracking technology can help logisticians keep an eye on shipments.

It’s a supply chain project fraught with the constant threat of failure. However, with the right technology in place, managers will know precisely where failures are occurring, protecting vaccine efficacy and allowing for real-time improvements to the system.

Why Asset Tracking Technology is So Important

Normal vaccine development and approval processes are slow and methodical. The COVID-19 effort was anything but ordinary. This was by design, of course, and required by the dire conditions. Testing wasn’t as extensive as it usually would be, and logistical questions remain unanswered.

It’s not clear what effects temperature excursions will have on the Covid-19 vaccine as it makes its way through the supply chain. Tolerances aren’t fully established, leading to a need for tighter controls. If scientists can’t be sure how much a given temperature variation will compromise a vaccine batch, then logisticians must keep variations to a minimum.

In an ideal world, program administrators would slow distribution down and spread the load to keep tabs on shipments as they’re released. But that isn’t a luxury afforded the COVID-19 vaccination effort. Every day sees COVID death tolls rise in the U.S. Lives hang in the balance, hinging on rapid vaccine distribution.

Asset tracking systems can aid this breakneck effort by distributing quality control across the entire network. Previously, administrators had to wait until shipments arrived at their destinations to ascertain their condition. Now, the technology monitors conditions for them, alerting them when something begins to go wrong.

Asset tracking is unprecedented, real-time monitoring on a global scale. It means distribution can proceed as quickly as it needs to without sacrificing safety.

How These Systems Safeguard the Covid-19 Vaccine

Current monitoring systems record temperature and other relevant data while assets are en route. When Covid-19 Vaccine batches arrive at their destinations, these systems generate reports detailing the vaccine during transport.

If the report shows a break in the cold chain, workers can cull the damaged batch, preventing it from entering common usage. It’s a decent system, but it’s wasteful. Because there’s no way to avoid vaccine spoilage in real-time, critical doses are lost. With COVID-19, these losses, both in time and capacity, equate directly to lives lost.

Asset tracking technology uses active rather than passive sensors, feeding batch and shipment-specific temperature and location data in real-time to a centralized monitoring system. If a temperature or condition fluctuation is detected, administrators don’t have to wait until the shipment arrives to learn about it. The system notifies them instantly, allowing workers to fix the problem before it compromises the batch.

Often, people aren’t needed at all. System automation allows for rapid intervention without human involvement. Administrators can design workflows that trigger remedies given specific sensor readings. In some cases, problems are detected and repaired before anyone’s aware there was an issue.

The ability to monitor shipments in real-time is critical. Asset tracking technology guarantees that more lifesaving treatments arrive ready for distribution to patients. Even small gains in safe vaccine arrivals translate to hundreds of thousands of additional people protected at the volumes necessary for the current effort.

Tactical Edge Brings Asset Tracking Technology to the Rest of Us

COVID-19 vaccine distribution is just one use case for these systems. Businesses around the country and across the globe can benefit from asset tracking that’s easy to use, inexpensive to deploy, and comprehensive in its application.

Total Visibility Anywhere (TVA) from Tactical Edge allows businesses full visibility across their entire supply chain. They can search, track, and locate vehicles and assets using any device, in real-time using a mobile-friendly dashboard that provides rich data visualizations. Even complex supply chain interactions are made trackable and understandable through the software’s interface.

TVA is a modular SaaS solution that provides instantaneous intel on current asset conditions, including temperature, exposure to moisture, shocks, and vibrations. Users receive alerts as issues occur or when assets arrive at their destinations. Best of all, the technology doesn’t require costly infrastructure investments, integrating easily with a business’ existing logistics software.

Tactical Edge developed TVA for the U.S. military, arguably the largest supply chain operation on the planet. DoD utilizes TVA’s technology to track shipments, providing real-time data to logisticians in the field. If the technology works for them, it can certainly work for you.

 Make better, data-driven logistics decisions with Total Visibility Anywhere from Tactical Edge. It’s a smart, cost-effective solution for companies looking to add ground-breaking asset tracking technology to their logistics systems.

To set up a demonstration of Tactical Edge’s ITV Software, including Total Visibility Anywhere, please contact:
Peter Vitale, Chief Operating Officer
Phone:(858) 382-8763


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