During the initial months of the pandemic, demand far exceeded the supply of critical health and safety products that healthcare and government organizations needed to keep patients and employees protected. To help alleviate supply shortages, Amazon Business created COVID-19 Supplies to get products into the hands of organizations delivering medical care and public health services.
Petra Schindler-Carter, Director and General Manager for Amazon Business, played an integral role in launching COVID-19 Supplies. As a result of her contributions, she became one of the first recipients of the Women in Distribution Award. The program celebrates 20 women who are breaking barriers and moving the wholesale distribution industry forward.
Leading through a crisis with COVID-19 Supplies
As frontline workers tirelessly treated patients, distributors and suppliers operated to deliver essential supplies. But global demand for personal protective equipment (PPE) still outpaced supply, and manufacturers experienced shortages that left many healthcare and government organizations without proper health and safety equipment.
With thousands of Amazon Business customers at hospitals, senior living facilities, local governments, and federal agencies, Schindler-Carter realized Amazon Business was positioned to help manufacturers get PPE to those who needed it most.
Under Schindler-Carter leadership, Amazon Business launched COVID-19 Supplies on March 31, 2020. The online store leverages Amazon Business expertise and resources to vet, certify, distribute, and deliver vital PPE products to medical and public health professionals. “Free Priority Delivery” is the default shipping option to get eligible items to their destination as fast as possible—sometimes as soon as the next business day.
Reaching both big and small organizations in need
Schindler-Carter also oversaw the mobilization to reach smaller customers who needed supplies most. These organizations—like emergency medical services, independent family physicians, rural police departments, and fire stations—often lack relationships with manufacturers. Supply chain shortages typically affect them more and threaten their entire business operations.
Consider a small medical clinic in Florida that faced the prospect of shutting its doors in the wake of supply scarcity. Amazon Business connected the clinic with necessary supplies, allowing it to continue helping its community.
Organizations like the Florida clinic are vital fixtures in small communities, connecting residents with the medical care they would otherwise have to travel long distances to access. These smaller organizations make up more than two-thirds of total transactions on COVID-19 Supplies.
Making an impact: 200 million supplies and counting
Amazon Business delivered over 100 million essential health and safety products within the first two months of launching COVID-19 Supplies—and over 200 million to date—to more than 13,000 healthcare and 7,000 government organizations. Destinations range from overwhelmed hotspots, like New York City, to rural counties not served by traditional suppliers.
Consider the Washington State Department of Enterprise Services. Using COVID-19 Supplies, the department has provided 60,000 respirators and medical masks and 1.6 million gloves to agencies to help employees and residents of Washington State. Across 45 of the 50 US states and around the world, tens of thousands of Amazon Business customers have been able to leverage COVID-19 Supplies.
The online store also helped thousands of suppliers and manufacturers stay in business as they shifted production to meet the demand for essential supplies. For example, hand2mind, a provider of hands-on learning products for literature and STEM, shifted operations in the wake of the pandemic. Hand2mind leveraged its supply chain to produce and sell PPE to healthcare workers and hospitals, partnering with Amazon Business and COVID-19 Supplies to distribute products.
Schindler-Carter leadership in the distribution industry helped equip frontline workers with the supplies needed to fight a global pandemic. Her contributions, over the past year and since joining Amazon 17 years ago, are worthy of recognition. We are proud to celebrate her MDM Women in Distribution Award.
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