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The challenge

Streamlining procurement during COVID-19

SAM: a smart procurement tool helping government and organisations accurately and efficiently procure health and safety products

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Geelong based Scale Facilitation™ (originally SaniteX Global, which supplied PPE around Australia) quickly saw the difficulties governments and large organisations were having sourcing and supplying trusted health and safety products, particularly in the US and Europe, due to global supply chain issues.

At the time, procuring health and safety products was an extremely time intensive and costly process for many companies, requiring cross checking large volumes of legislation and contacting pre-approved suppliers individually to order stock.

Our response

Smart procurement software solution

Growth Facilitator, Mike Sewell, from the Australian Government’s Entrepreneurs' Programme, an Australian Government initiative which is funded and supported by the Australian Government, put Scale Facilitation in touch with CSIRO Innovation Connections Facilitator Joseph Dodd, a service also offered through the program. Joseph connected Scale Facilitation to researchers at Deakin University's Applied Artificial Intelligence Institute (A2I2), to develop the Smart Analytical Model (SAM), a smart procurement tool helping government and organisations accurately and efficiently procure health and safety products amidst a global supply chain crisis.

Using artificial intelligence (AI), SAM navigates thousands of pages of Federal and State guidance and regulation and matches them with vetted suppliers of quality products.

The platform allows an organisation, like a school, to do this in under five minutes, pulling their existing location and personnel data – which is often publicly available – and using machine learning algorithms to make an accurate recommendation of products and quantities.

Outcome

Helping schools to safely reopen

Smart Analytical Model (SAM)

Since completing the project, Scale Facilitation™ launched SAM initially in the State of New York, assisting schools to fulfil their health and safety procurement needs, re-open safely, and operate efficiently under COVID-safe regulations.

They are now looking to expand across the US as well as back home in Australia, with the goal of boosting manufacturing in the company's home city of Geelong. The business is supporting local jobs and industries, continuing to invest in their long-term partnership with Deakin's A2I2 Institute.

SAM kick-starts other innovations and growth

Since launching in November 2020, Scale Facilitators has grown from only a few contractors to a team of 30 and is continuing to grow.

Due to the success of the initial project, the company has significantly expanded and has since developed numerous other products including:

  • re-open.com – a software-focused platform hosting multiple apps (including SAM as well as VMS, mentioned below). In August 2021, they secured the contract award to supply health and safety-related commodities to the entire State of New York, through this platform, for a five-year term.
  • A Vital Monitoring System (VMS): an accessible and evidence-based solution to identify, predict and remotely monitor people with COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses, developed by SaniteX Global in collaboration with Alfred Health and Deakin University.
  • The launch of the Scale Facilitation™ Scale Analyst Program will also see new graduates in Australia have a direct opportunity to work in the R&D space at an entry level.

Innovation Connections was crucial in connecting us with the right AI expertise at Deakin University to not only develop our smart procurement tool, but also kick-start a number of other conversations that have enabled us to expand into other ventures. The process was streamlined, seamless and understood our business pressures.

—David A. Collard, Founder & CEO, Scale Facilitation

For more information on how CSIRO supports SMEs please click here.

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