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The Covid-19 induced pandemic brought with itself a plentiful amount of disruptions. One of the biggest shockers the industry had was the disruption it caused to the global supply chains which led to the fall of the global economy.

The idea of solving the global supply chain disruption with a distributed manufacturing system was seeded amidst the Covid-19 wave. We began our operations during December 2020, when we felt that the worst was over. However we didn’t realise that the worst was yet to come.

The second wave of covid 19 brought with itself deaths and a mayhem among all the players in the industry. It was this time when we thought we could help people around us with whatever we could do. Being a very early stage startup, at that time, with only a handful of manufacturers on our side, we went on to become a part of a group of entrepreneurs solving a major problem that everyone was facing in the country - Making Oxygen Concentrators locally in India.

The Oxygen Concentrators

As a country crippled with infrastructure, we had an acute shortage of Oxygen Concentrators. Oxygen Concentrators are typically used as stationary sources to provide long-term oxygen therapy (LTOT) to patients at home/hospitals. Oxygen concentrators consist of a cabinet that houses the compressor, zeolite and filters; tubing; a nasal cannula and/or face mask.

The Challenge

  • Dependence on China for Oxygen Concentrators

  • Existing manufacturing facilities were not scalable

  • Lack of know-how on certification standards of medical equipment in India

What did we do

At Procurabl, we started volunteering for sourcing and manufacturing of components for Mission Bharat O2. Through this we got an opportunity to work with Prof. Amitabha Bandyopadhyay, Professor In-charge, Innovation & Incubation, IIT Kanpur, Rahul Patel, Head of Strategic Initiatives, SIIC IIT Kanpur, and some notable scientists from Indian Institute of Science, Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research. Initially we worked on some projects wherein we would help the entrepreneurs who were building prototypes of locally made Oxygen Concentrators. We would help them with sourcing Zeolite X13, helping them identify the alternatives to Zeolite X13 and making prototypes of components through our network of manufacturers.

We learnt how to leverage our network to perform a specific set of manufacturing operations

Some of the notable projects we were involved in were -

Bharat O2 - Oxyform

Bharat O2 is a tech for good (not for profit) initiative led by Ashima Kohli (Ex- Xerox) among others. Oxyform, their product is a low cost PSA Valve Oxygen Concentrator. Since this was an open source and a voluntary project, we worked at no cost, to get rapid prototyping done for them. Ashima called us with a requirement to prototype certain components. They needed a manufacturing partner based out of Jaipur, as their engineering team was situated there.

This was amidst the lockdown. During this time no one was open, nor was anyone ready to take the risk to work with Second wave in its prime. We roped in a manufacturing partner who could help them with prototyping their components at Jaipur within a few hours. This manufacturing partner not only worked for them during the lockdown, they are also the 3D Printing partner for Bharat O2.

Precision advanced Systems

An aerospace manufacturer that was working to build a batch of 40 Oxygen concentrators to deploy them into the hospitals at Aligarh and the surrounding areas. We helped them source the oil free compressors.

The challenge they were facing was the unavailability of these type of compressors in the market. PAS gave us a timeline of 5 days, to find vendor, close the deal, document and deliver the compressors to Aligarh.

At that time, some traders were either hoarding these compressors, or were selling them at exorbitant rates. We leveraged our network to close this requirement. Everyone in our network knew that we were doing a noble job. We connected with 18 vendors for this component.

It took us 2 days to identify the right vendor and negotiate a deal with them. We were able to provide a procurement ROI of 15% to PAS.

The delivery time was a bottleneck. It would take 8 days by road and 5 + 1 days by rail. Flying these compressors was the only option we had. And we did exactly that. We flew them in to Aligarh within 1 day. Delivering a time saving of 60% for PAS to assemble and quickly deploy these concentrators at the hospitals.

The Covid 19, second wave was the hardest time for us as a team and as a country. We did our bit. We will keep doing this for the people around us every time the opportunity arises.

Team Procurabl

Oct 20, 2021


Covid-19: Combatting Oxygen Shortage

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