At bttn, we strive to keep our customers and partners in the know. Providing data reports and transparency into supply chains is part of the reason our customers love buying with bttn every day. During times of crisis, fear and uncertainty loom heavy on everyone’s minds. We believe one of the most important and valuable ways for us to help our customers is to discuss the realities of this historically mercurial and complex industry.
Today, we are sharing an update on a current high-demand product, COVID-19 testing. Over the last year we have devoted countless hours to become the authority on testing and supply chain availability, and in doing so have provided millions of tests to users across the US. In the past week, we’ve seen exponentially more testing orders on our platform than ever before. This increase in demand is multi-faceted but the main factors include:
- Holiday season gatherings
- Arrival and prevalence of the Omicron variant
- The 6-pronged COVID-19 mitigation plan taking effect in January 2022
- General delays related to holiday shipping demand
Holiday Season Gatherings
With the holiday season comes the natural and innate desire for people to gather with friends and family. While this is something every person values more and more the longer COVID is a fact of life, these gatherings cause the additional need for thorough health and safety practices for Small & Medium Businesses (SMBs). While we often consider testing ourselves before seeing friends and family (as we should) there is an equal if not greater amount of testing and safety precaution necessary for SMBs in the medical space to take upon return from the holidays. Each dentist, doctor, surgeon, etc., will require tests after the holiday to ensure the safety of their co-workers and patients. This increase in demand contributes to continued supply concerns around testing availability.
There are still many questions surrounding the Omicron variant of COVID-19; however, what is undeniably certain is that it is here and is something that will require us to re-evaluate our nation’s progress in dealing with COVID once and for all. Testing across the nation is once again at the forefront of importance for companies across the nation. Rising caseloads and hospitalizations make testing an essential part of our nation's strategy, and that starts with access to supply. As we navigate this new variant, we remain dedicated to getting as many supplies out to those healthcare providers that need it.
6-Pronged COVID Mitigation Plan
The President and the White House have put together a 6-pronged COVID mitigation plan to take effect in totality in January of 2022. One of the six points of this mitigation plan is increasing testing requirements nationwide. To make this plan a reality, the largest test manufacturers have begun focusing solely on manufacturing and providing tests for the federal government. While this will inevitably get more people tested, it has put immense strain on the supply chain. And as those supplies are depleted and focus shifts to fulfilling federal government demand, it is becoming increasingly difficult for SMBs that require testing at wholesale amounts to come by the quantities they require. Because of this, we’ve seen significant increases in SMBs purchasing tests for their employees and organizations when the amount needed is more than one could buy at a retail store.
Increased Holiday and Shipping Delays
The holiday season, even outside of a global pandemic, impacts shipping times. We’re diligently working around holiday hours in a way that keeps our teams safe while fulfilling orders in a timely manner for our customers.
We expect the demand for tests to stay continuously high in the coming weeks. In preparation for this, we are:
1) Committed to remaining open and transparent with our customers, passing on updates consistently.
2) In constant communication with our suppliers in order to ensure a steady supply of the products we are offering on our platform. We know that people value time and transparency and that is why we will only be listing tests when we are confident that we can fulfill the orders.
3) Processing and fulfilling orders as quickly as possible. Shipping has been and always will be free.
4) Providing discounts to all SMBs who have partnered with bttn in the past or will be partnering with us in the future. We are building a community at bttn, and in doing so we believe it’s our job to assist during these times.
The price fluctuations you see on COVID-19 tests are a clear example of how enterprise-level and GPO pricing works. If you are an enterprise pharmacy chain like CVS, you will enjoy better pricing than the local doctor’s offer because of the massive order quantity. But where do you turn if you are an SMB and need bulk but cannot access enterprise-level pricing because you lack the size?
Our mission has been and will continue to be to lower the cost of medical supply for all, and for 99% of our products we are confident we are doing this now. Testing is proving to be a product for which we need to show diligence and time-spent in order to make this a reality for our customers. Whether it’s testing, medical, surgical, or dental, we will continue to provide supply chain insights because we are building the future of medical supply.