International Scientific Instrument Co. (ISIC), a member of the CovidActionCollab, is a supplier of medical and laboratory products. The CAC Team spoke to Rachit Malhotra from ISIC to understand their experience as part of the COVID-19 response so far.
What have been your key actions, initiatives and outcomes around the COVID-19 response?
We have been dealing in medical and laboratory products for 40 years and are glad that we are able to leverage our strong relationship with vendors. We have been tirelessly working full-time, six days a week, and have developed a Personal Protection Equipment Kit. We are getting orders from several old customers, including all ICMR approved laboratories, many of which did not have sufficient protective gear to start with. We have also supplied some products to shelter homes and similar initiatives directly/indirectly.
What are your biggest learnings/challenges?
Only 25% of our staff is still coming to work, and we are somehow managing with this, while maintaining social distancing and taking all precautions. Our biggest challenge has surely been Logistics. We have really struggled to get products to us and to customers.
Our biggest learning has been that we were not ready in any way for this. By ‘we’ I mean us as a business, the Medical Supplies industry, our healthcare systems and, most importantly, the government administration. We knew that COVID-19 would hit us, but we did not take proper precautionary measures in time.
Have any stories/insights emerged from the field or from your work?
The system of issuing transportation passes during this lockdown should have been clearer and faster. While we are risking our lives to help support healthcare in India, it is unfair that the police do not understand and continue to penalize employees, despite having the necessary passes to work.
The same goes for government procurements- if regular, lengthy tendering processes can be expedited, then products can reach where needed much faster!
How did you leverage the COVID Action Collaborative?
We have been dealing in medical and laboratory products for 40 years, hence we thankfully had some stock of most products. We also leveraged relationships with suppliers in our network which was the biggest strength and also the need at such a time.