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How Traction on Demand Rapidly Developed the B.C. Government’s COVID-19 Supply Hub

How Traction on Demand Rapidly Developed the BC Government’s COVID-19 Supply Hub

Written by

Jason Etherington

Regional Vice-President, Traction on Demand

Responding Together: The Story Behind COVID-19 Supply Hub

When we were approached by BCs Technology Supercluster to develop a COVID-19 medical supply solution, of course, we wanted to help. We’ve been helping companies solve similar problems for 14 years. Just as other businesses are giving what they’re good at, it was important for us to lend our expertise to this solution. 

And so, we began work on the COVID-19 Supply Hub.

COVID-19 Supply Hub

If there’s good news coming from the COVID-19 crisis, it’s how we’re coming together as a global community to help save lives, look after healthcare workers, and care for the people around us.

Businesses across the world are raising their hands to offer supplies, or re-purpose equipment and people power to help fight COVID-19. High-end fashion houses are making hospital gowns, distilleries are producing hand sanitizer, and private companies are turning over their personal protective equipment to healthcare workers.

The number of offers to help and provide solutions and donations is staggering. But also a little overwhelming. Not having faced this situation before, many governments have no system in place to triage and manage the influx of offers and goods from businesses.

On March 21st this year, we met with Bill Tam, co-founder of BCs Technology Supercluster. We’d heard the call for help from our provincial health officials and front-line health workers – they needed reinforcements in their battle against COVID-19.

We’re accustomed to moving fast at Traction on Demand, but the rapid pace of development on the Supply Hub was astounding. Every day, we watched the numbers of COVID-19 cases rise, and felt the growing fear of healthcare workers as supplies started to dwindle. In just one week (yes, one week), thanks to the direct efforts of ten Tractionites, the Government of British Columbia, Digital Technology Supercluster, Business Council of British Columbia and Provincial Health Services Authority, we designed, built and deployed the COVID-19 Supply Hub. 

“This made-in-B.C. innovation showcases how important it is to work together to support our front-line workers. By giving B.C. businesses a platform to help, we are enabling some of our best and brightest minds to meet the demands of this pandemic and help keep people safe.”

B.C. Premier John Horgan

Here’s how it works

covid-19-supply-hub

BC Government Assessors identify the key list of essential supplies to be shared and activate that in the Supply Hub. The Supply Hub’s public-facing website, which is tied into the BC Government’s Emergency Preparedness, Response & Recovery website, then shows that list to the public. Here, companies can review the needs and submit an offer, detailing what they can provide, how many units, when they can be available and so on. On the back end of the Supply Hub, the offers are reviewed for both commercial and clinical veracity. 

Not only does the Supply Hub track individual proposals, but it also provides valuable insight for the government into the number of offers by unit, offerer, date etc. and provides indicators that highlight what resources are required when and where.

The results

The Supply Hub has been an instant success. Through this portal, in a matter of days, offers were received in excess of tens and hundreds of millions of units. Items included true essentials for healthcare workers such as N95 face masks, surgical masks, coveralls, ventilators and over 30 other types of PPE and essential equipment. These offers are currently being processed by assessors to ensure they’re of sufficient quality and meet their defined medical specifications. 

I have never been more proud to work for Traction on Demand. The way our team stepped up to work day and night and through the weekends was inspiring; they were driven to get this done.


Businesses around the world are looking for ways to support the fight against COVID-19. We hope that by giving what we’re good at, we can inspire other organizations to do the same. So here’s our challenge: ask yourself, what can my organization do to help in the fight against COVID-19? What can you donate? Make? Create? Whatever it is you’re good at, put those skills to good use in this fight. We are all in this together. 

Respond Together

Are you a manufacturer or business interested in supporting healthcare workers in their fight against COVID-19? Find out more about our response to COVID-19 and how you can get involved.

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