Professor Jan Fransoo advises the RIVM on vaccine logistics
Together with a team of experts, Jan Fransoo, professor of logistics (TiU/TU/e), is advising the RIVM in the coming period. Their assignment: optimize the logistics of the vaccination campaign. With this, the government seems to take Fransoo’s earlier comments on the logistics planning to heart.
A month ago, the coronavirus vaccination campaign began in the Netherlands. To date, that operation has been difficult. Jan Fransoo, professor of Operations and Logistics Management (Tilburg University and Eindhoven University of Technology) spoke out critically (Dutch only) several times in the media about the government’s logistics strategy. He expressed surprise at the lack of different scenarios and the pace of the vaccination, among other things.
His advice: scale up. Take on a large group of vaccinators now so that work can proceed quickly once more vaccines are available. In addition, invest in large, centrally located vaccination sites (Dutch only).
Until now, the idea has been that the majority of Dutch people get their shot at the GP practice. However, Fransoo was concerned about this strategy: “There is still a lot of uncertainty about when and how many vaccines will be delivered. If you want to prepare for that, it’s better to have large locations because then you can switch more easily than with 5,000 GP practices,” Fransoo said in the NRC (Dutch only).
From criticism to advice
Fransoo’s expertise and vision have apparently been noticed in The Hague. Yesterday it was announced that Fransoo has recently taken on an advisory role for the RIVM, the relevant ministries, GP organizations, GGD GHOR Nederland, and GGD West-Brabant. He does not fulfill this role alone, but leads an advisory team consisting of logistics scientists and students from Tilburg University and TU/e and logistics professionals from companies such as ASML and Heineken.
The team was assembled on the initiative of the experts themselves and now falls under the Top Sector Logistics and VNO-NCW.
In a press release, Fransoo indicates to be pleased with his advisory role: “Our aim is to ensure that decision-making is based on the best possible insights from logistics science and practice, so that vaccination can proceed optimally in terms of logistics.
“We screen the planning and the logistics process of the vaccination operation and based on this we make proposals for redesigning a number of processes, for example at the vaccination stations. In the future, too, there must be enough capacity to administer vaccinations quickly when the vaccine is available. We are also building a number of calculation tools to support decisions, particularly for scenario planning and the management of safety stocks.”