No matter where you fit in the harm reduction supply chain of people and supplies, expecting the unexpected is just a part of our work. There is simply no opportunity, (for you on the ground, or for OHRDP working to ensure you have access to supplies) to chill out and coast.
We thought we would share some of the zany that we’ve been dealing with lately. While it’s removed from your direct service work – all of what we do is to make sure you have what you need to support your community
Where Are Those Impact 1.0 Blue Screens?
We ask you to project, which is difficult when you don’t have a crystal ball for the needs of your community. Now, multiply that for the entire province and long-term planner becomes a loose term. There is a long lead-time for supplies to be made, plus the distance for transportation from another country. The problem with dealing with manufacturers overseas are the dreaded transportation delays.
Our records were clear that we had a good 2 months-worth of Impact 1.0 blue screens in the warehouse, more than enough to carry us until the incoming shipment. Well – apparently there was ‘no-months-worth’ of these screens in the warehouse. Human error at the medical distributor’s warehouse miscalculated and there was NO Impact 1.0 screens at all. Scrambling to find where the incoming shipment was to expedite it, we discovered it was backed up at the harbour port in Vancouver. Major port backlogs meant we didn’t know how long it would take to dock and unload. Getting it from dock to warehouse at the quickest speed was another issue. What we learned was, once on a boat and in harbour, released containers can not be opened to re-package and distribute. They must leave the port as a whole container as stated on the original paperwork. This limited possible solutions.
But here are a couple of important things we are always reminded:
- It doesn’t matter where you are in the harm reduction supply chain (warehouse or direct service), physical ‘eyes on’ stock counts are critical to making sure you have what you need! Not only relying on computer spreadsheets.
- We have amazing and generous core programs. Toronto had stock on hand and offered to send some of their Impact 1.0 blue inventory back to Stevens to re-distribute for those programs that needed it, until the shipment arrived.
Those Aren’t Our Spoons!
The OHRDP team won’t forget the day we were informed by Stevens that the new shipment of Spoons cookers received in the warehouse was way different from our usual order. We could not stand behind this new product without evidence of its safety. And the manufacturer would not share any information about this new product. Without evidence of safety, we knew we couldn’t give these to service-users.
We contacted the programs who ordered the Spoon on a regular basis to break the news to them. We wanted to know the impact it would have on their service-users, and how we could help with transition.
And here are a couple of important things we were reminded:
- Every single program was understanding, supportive, and felt they could work with their service-users around this transition.
- Again! – we have amazing and generous core programs. Many of you offered your inventory of Spoons from your shelves to be re-distributed to those programs whose service-users would need them more.
Our team loves the work we do – and we are inspired by working with you as our colleagues. Every day we all must adapt to the realities in our work. Ultimately, and in the sage words of Zac Efron, ‘we’re all in this together.’ Lean on each other during the zany times, and remember – we’re always available to bounce ideas off of, or to ask questions.