Afternoon Coffee: How Merck will help J&J crank out COVID-19 vaccine; Europe, Asia factories grow, but supply is tight; Aavenir helps align IT, procurement

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President Joe Biden announced that pharma giants Merck and Johnson & Johnson will come together to help produce J&J’s one-shot COVID-19 vaccine, according to CNBC.

Under the deal, Merck will dedicate two facilities in the US to the vaccine — one to produce the vaccine and the other as a “fill-finish” service to place the vaccine in vials. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said the US will invoke the Defense Production Act to invest $105 million for Merck to convert, upgrade and equip the company’s facilities to the standards to safely manufacture the vaccine.

Officials scoured the county for manufacturing capacity after they realized that J&J had fallen short in its vaccine production, the article said. They sought a deal with Merck, which scrapped plans to develop its own vaccine in January.

“These efforts will contribute to J&J’s ability to accelerate delivery of their vaccine doses from 100 million doses by the end of June to at or near 100 million doses by the end of May,” HHS said in a statement. “In the long term, these actions will ultimately double J&J’s US capacity to produce drug substance and increase the US capacity for fill-finish.”

Factories in Asia and Europe see growth among challenges to procure raw materials

Demand for various manufactured goods led to growth in factories across Europe and Asia last month, but a slowdown in China revealed the challenges that countries face in recovering from the Covid pandemic, according to Reuters.

IHS Markit’s Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) jumped to a three-year high of 57.9 in February from January’s reading of 54.8. Restrictions across the world have led to a shuttering of the services industry, and it has fallen on manufacturers to support economies.

In Europe, factory activity generally grew. But lockdown measures disrupted supply chains while factories struggled to obtain raw materials. Meanwhile, many Asian countries saw growth, but China’s factory activity grew at the slowest pace in nine months.

“International shipping delays and strong global demand for raw materials have slowed manufacturers worldwide,” Samuel Tombs at Pantheon Macroeconomics told Reuters.

Aavenir webinar to aid IT, procurement alignment

Procurement and IT, now more than ever, need to bolster the strategic mission of their whole businesses, not serving just tactical roles in their own areas of interest. But the two departments inside of companies often aren’t aligned, leading to duplicated efforts or mismatched technology.

The procurement technology provider Aavenir, which builds source-to-pay solutions natively on ServiceNow, is addressing that gap with a webinar March 11 at 11 a.m. US Eastern time to discuss this digital transformation.

Spend Matters analyst Nick Heinzmann and Aavenir Product Expert Vikram Chakrabarty will discuss the benefits of a common platform along with these webinar topics:

  • Key IT challenges that procurement faces
  • How to strategically align IT & procurement through a common platform
  • S2P solutions on unified enterprise platform ServiceNow
  • Demo: Aavenir Contractflow on ServiceNow

Register for Aavenir’s free March 11 webinar here.

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