SSC Services for Education is the premium provider of support services for quality-focused educational institutions around the country. With over 170 partner schools, SSC is familiar with the unique challenges of supply chain management, especially given the unstable supply and demand created in the past two years. Despite the shortages experienced nationwide, SSC has consistently provided our teams at our partner schools with cleaning solutions, supplies, and personal protective equipment needed without significant interruption. This is a direct result of our expertly run warehouse, located in Knoxville, Tennessee.
Brad West, SSC’s Warehouse & Purchasing Manager, proactively works every day to ensure that our teams receive the supplies they need to expertly clean and sanitize learning environments at our partner schools. “The warehouse exists as a supplier to our SSC locations. We have over 170 accounts that we ship to across the US, each with their own storerooms and managers on-site that require different products,” Brad explains.
Brad experienced the shortages of cleaning supplies, personal protective equipment, and even technology firsthand at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, and still today. SSC uses mostly domestic vendors to purchase supplies; however, Brad was able to source products from international locations when shortages hit full force. “Our normal suppliers ran out of things, so we had to get creative and buy full containers that shipped internationally,” he explained.
Adding the element of overseas shipping created an additional challenge: Uncertainty about where our products were and when we could expect to receive them. To combat this, Brad kept an open line of communication with our vendors whenever possible. He explained, “I would get updates from vendors letting me know where our products were, whether they were loading them at international ports or they were already on the water.”
Having access to the products needed also allowed us to give back to one of our partner schools in Texas. DeSoto ISD lost all of their allotted personal protective equipment when the warehouse storing the supplies caught fire in August 2020. SSC Services for Education donated 15,000 disposable gloves, 900 gallons of hand sanitizer, and 63 infrared thermometers to the district. Donations made by SSC & other community organizations completely replaced the $80,000 of supplies lost in the fire.
Ultimately, the SSC warehouse allows our partner accounts to access the products they need at prices that are often more affordable, even after significant price increases across the market, because of our ability to purchase and store in bulk. This process also reduces the carbon footprint created by excess shipping: Instead of multiple vendors delivering directly to each site every month, these vendors deliver one shipment directly to our warehouse. From there, we combine the items needed into one monthly shipment for each of our teams at our partner campuses.
The SSC warehouse ensures that supply closets are never overfilled and overwhelmed, with the warehouse serving as a middle ground. As a result of warehouse operations, our teams always have the supplies they need without overloading the storage space they have on-site.
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