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Students assist in securing medical supplies

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Published on Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Five students from the Master in Logistics and Supply Chain Management, assisted by Prof. Benny Mantin, are providing support to secure medical supplies needed in the current Covid-19-crisis to the Robert Schuman Hospital on Kirchberg in Luxembourg.

Predicting increasing demand

Since Monday 23 March, the students Joachim Refsdal, Ravi Shekar Pathak, Vijay Kumar, Catalina Pérez Leiva and Tram Ngo Thi Bao from the Centre for Logistics and Supply Chain Management (LCL) at the Faculty of Law, Economics and Finance are at the hospital when on-line class schedules allow, helping to manage medical supplies. They predict the demand for medical consumables by considering what the hospital needs on a normal basis and including statistics of countries that have already been through the peak of the crisis. The students are backed by several doctoral candidates, a post-doc and other faculty members who work from home.

Part of the work consists in searching for new suppliers all around the globe that can deliver fast and high-quality products that comply with the standards required by the hospital. Based on the demand, model orders are placed to ensure enough stock throughout this critical time.

Benny Mantin reflects on the situation in the hospital after first days of volunteering: “The hospital staff is working hard to harness efforts and ensure continued care to patients. They are being innovative to adapt processes and are working hard to coordinate efforts to bring additional supplies. This situation is a learning experience for all, and once the crisis is over, we will all be able to take a deep breath and work with the health system to prepare for future events.”

Pre-pandemic agreement accelerated crisis cooperation

Prior to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, the LCL of the University and the Robert Shuman Hospital had already discussed opportunities to work together on master thesis projects. When the coronavirus crisis began, this became a natural accelerator for the collaboration. The hospital contacted the LCL just before the crisis really took off to see whether students and members of LCL could provide a helping hand.

Course director Prof. Joachim Arts says: “This collaboration shows the solidarity of our students and shows that even those who are not in the medical profession can contribute to tackling the challenge Luxembourg and the rest of the world currently faces. We are happy to help wherever we can with the knowledge that we have as students and teachers of logistics and supply chain management.”

The students appear shortly in a video on current supply chain challenges in hospitals (in Luxembourgish).

Alongside the previously reported solidarity campaign launched by students on Facebook, this is an example for the type of resources the University community can lend to society at this time. Each skill matters. Every one of us can contribute. Prof. Stéphane Pallage, rector of the University of Luxembourg says: “Let's find the best in ourselves and put it to the good use of society.”