Three questions for Larry St. Onge

Larry St. Onge - President, Life Sciences & Healthcare, DHL

1. What is the situation today for your customers in the healthcare and life sciences sectors?

I don’t think any industry has escaped the impact of the coronavirus, but different sectors are affected in different ways. While some businesses have seen dramatic drops in demand, or halted their operations altogether, life sciences companies have a responsibility to keep their supply chains flowing for the sake of people who rely on their products. So our customers are continuing to operate in extremely demanding conditions, and of course plenty of them are right at the front line of the crisis, providing vital supplies to support victims of the virus and working at pace on the development of new tests and treatments.

2. Has the industry had to adapt its supply chains as a result of the crisis?

Yes, we are seeing a big response across the sector. Some companies are reconfiguring their manufacturing to ramp up production of products that are facing urgent demand, and they are having to do that in a very challenging environment with whole economies under lockdowns and other restrictions – and, of course, a pressing need to keep their people safe. Logistics systems are under great pressure too – notably airfreight, which is critical to the sector. The collapse in global passenger air travel has taken around half the normal airfreight capacity out of the system, with the loss of the belly cargo space that was widely used for medical and pharmaceutical shipments.

3. How has DHL responded to support its life ­sciences customers in the crisis?

The whole organization has mobilized to support customers through the crisis, activating our existing business continuity plans, which did include provisions for epidemic and pandemic situations, and introducing a swathe of new measures designed to protect our people and safeguard our operations. We have task forces in place to monitor the situation as it evolves, allowing us to adapt our processes at a global, regional and local level.

Published: June 2020

Image: DHL