May 2021 | Commentary | Good Question

What fictional character or historical figure would you put in charge of global vaccine logistics and distribution?

Tags: Distribution, Health Care Logistics, Technology

Tony Stark, aka Iron Man, understands how to harness business and technology to get results—even if some of the measures needed are unpopular. His attention to detail and insatiable appetite for perfection would allow him to pivot and change course when faced with gaps in the distribution process that others may fear.

—Cory Turner
Senior Director, Healthcare Strategy,
Tecsys


Tony Stark. This individual made a career in technological weapons manufacturing. He acquired global outreach through this platform. His life turned humanitarian with his mind set on humanity. He has the infrastructure and distribution platform to create "a suit of armor around the world"—aka the COVID-19 vaccination.

—Ryan Camacho
Director of Strategy and Business Development
Axele, LLC


Superman. Doctor Strange is a good second.

—Michael Zimmerman
Partner
Americas Lead, Kearney


X-Men's Professor X. His Cerebro machine for tracking mutants could easily track end-to-end vaccine distribution and ensure efficient delivery. While Cerebro only exists in fiction, cloud-based supply chain visibility solutions—paired with GPS and cellular-enabled tracking devices—can provide equally powerful levels of intelligence and visibility into shipments.

—Jeff Clark
SVP, Product Management
CalAmp



Barry Allen, aka the Flash. The Flash, traveling at the speed of sound, can expedite deliveries of the vaccine and/or run to a previous moment in time to vaccinate people before a major outbreak occurs.

—Mark McCullough
CEO, Gebrüder Weiss USA


Teddy Roosevelt. Read the book River of Doubt. Imagine a modern-day president catching a one-way flight to Mars, with no concrete plans for a return flight. He would have to get to Mars, find materials, build a return rocket, and coordinate a return flight to Earth. This is the equivalent to what Teddy Roosevelt did in 1914. If he can do that, he can distribute vaccines.

—G. Michael Rentz
Chief Revenue Officer
Gnosis Freight


Sealand founder Malcom McLean created the container shipping industry with his radical idea to offload "containers" from a chassis to a ship. The creation of new solutions to old challenges or complexities will be what drives the industry forward. Global vaccine distribution would be in good hands with Malcom McLean.

—Michael Britton
Managing Director
Sealand Americas


German composer and pianist Ludwig van Beethoven created some of his most mature music after becoming almost completely deaf in 1814. The novelty of this international crisis and the transportation of such valuable, yet so perishable, loads requires a "composer" who can plan and deliver great results.

—Ralph Riehl
Managing Director Americas
DACHSER Americas Air & Sea Logistics Corp.


Jon Snow from Game of Thrones. A natural-born leader who puts saving mankind ahead of his own self interest. Undeterred by unprecedented obstacles, he is committed to staying the course, taking calculated risks and strategically pivoting when necessary—all while asking enemies to put down their swords and work together toward a common goal.

—Lisa Aurichio
Executive Director
Containerization & Intermodal Institute


Quint from Jaws. "Y'all know me—I'll kill this COVID, but it ain't gonna be easy. I'll make the vaccine available for $3,000, but have ample supply for five, and have shots in the arms within four months for $10,000. That'll bring back the tourists and put businesses on a payin' basis. I will get this done, FAST!"

—Gregory W. Tuthill
Chief Commercial Officer
SeaCube Containers


Dwight Eisenhower. Besides having a talent to get along with strong-minded personalities such as Churchill, Patton, and Montgomery, he had a thorough grasp on logistics. Eisenhower championed and signed the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956; he understood an interstate highway system would help continued economic growth.

—Gisela Hausmann
Logistics Professional
Author, Inside Amazon: My Story


Mary Fields, aka Stagecoach Mary, was fearless, and the first African-American female "star-route" mail carrier. A "star-route" carrier was contracted out by the government to deliver mail to tough-to-reach locations. Mary's tenacity for protecting vital assets and ensuring the safe and timely delivery of goods would translate to the most efficient and secure global vaccine distribution.

—Gabe Grifoni
CEO and Co-founder
Rufus Labs


Frank Bunker Gilbreth and his wife Lillian of the semi-autobiographical 1940s novel Cheaper by the Dozen. Frank and Lillian were efficiency experts and constantly doing time and motion studies on their children. If they could corral 12 children on a daily basis, they could easily handle logistics.

—Barbara Rainville
Marketing Manager
Maple Landmark Woodcraft


Dan Cathy, CEO, Chick-fil-A. The Chick-fil-A drive-through is a high-quality, efficient model with superb customer service. Their ability to change and adapt during the pandemic was incredible and demonstrated the strength of their leader, who guided an organization to tackle challenges head-on and swiftly implemented solutions.

—J.J. Cartledge
Senior Consultant
BH3M Associates


Elizabeth Blackwell. She was a resilient pioneer and organizer in the field of medicine. In addition to being the first woman to receive a medical degree in the United States, she made contributions to the promotion of women in medicine and played a significant role during the American Civil War by organizing nurses.

—Jeanet Wade
ForbesBooks author of The Human Team: So, You Created a Team But People Showed Up!
Founder, Business Alchemist


Sun Tzu. As a practical and resourceful leader, he was goal-driven and agile in his strategies. He strived to operate in a frictionless way, to maximize resources and keep morale high.

—Will Eadie
Chief Revenue Officer
WorkJam


The Tooth Fairy. With extensive experience operating a global network with a proven consistent, reliable, and flawless distribution method, the Tooth Fairy has the skills to lead an effective distribution operation ensuring that all recipients received their vaccine at the right time and the right place—assuming they would waive the tooth fee, of course.

—Mike Wilson
CEO, Consolidated Chassis Management


The world needs an expert in global dynamics, complex supply chains, route optimization, and challenging logistics. They must manage tight timelines and understand cultural nuances. These key characteristics lead to only one magical character: Santa Claus.

—Anne Robinson
Chief Strategy Officer
Kinaxis


Santa Claus manages to deliver billions of presents in a 24-hour period (well, technically 31) tapping into a vast and global network of elves to get it done. Who better to get the vaccines to everybody in the world?

—Richard Howells
Vice President, Awareness and Thought Leadership,
Digital Supply Chain, SAP


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