As the healthcare industry continues to be consolidated, healthcare companies must do everything that they can to minimize cost and maximize the efficiency of their facility to remain profitable. However, there are several issues that can prevent facilities from being successful in this goal and most revolve around the healthcare supply chain.
Common Supply Chain Challenges
There are a few key reasons that healthcare supply chain matters are more difficult for today’s companies than they were in the past:
- Rapid Globalization: Although research has shown that globalization has offered many positive benefits for the world, it still provides many challenges for businesses. From instructions that aren’t translated effectively to difficulties with overseas shipping schedules, companies have a lot to deal with when it comes to globalizing their healthcare supply chain.
- Maintaining “just in time” healthcare delivery. Hospitals and other medical facilities have to order the exact amount of supplies that they need to meet demand. Order too many items and resources are wasted: too few, and there isn’t enough to provide acceptable patient treatment.
- Keeping their processes as accurate as possible. According to Inbound Logistics, the healthcare industry is lagging behind other fields as a result of a prevalence of antiquated manual processes for ordering, accuracy checking, and product scanning.
While it’s true that there are more challenges than ever before faced by healthcare supply chain professionals today, the good news is that there are also more innovative solutions to these challenges.
Overcoming with Innovation
Healthcare organizations are combining ingenuity and modern technology to overcome some of the logistics challenges they face. For example, Sentara Healthcare, a healthcare group which serves patients in Virginia and North Carolina, recently started using Jennifer VoicePlus in its distribution center in Chesapeake, VA. Sentara has reported great success with Jennifer, stating that since the rollout they have been able to cut their error rate by over 50% and dramatically reduce the amount of training required for employees.
Companies are also striving to improve communication across the supply chain by adopting universal tools for product labeling. U.S. healthcare technology companies recently created the first ever GS1 standards in the United States, including bar codes, with the goal of implementing this standard throughout the entire supply chain to improve safety and efficiency.
It’s clear that healthcare supply chain challenges will only get tougher in the coming years. Be certain that you keep an eye on developing technologies and solutions that you may be able to adopt in your business to ensure that your medical supply chain is as effective as possible.
About Michael Wilson
Michael Wilson is AFFLINK'S Vice President of Marketing and Communications. He has been with the organization since 2005 and provides strategic leadership for the entire supply chain team. In his free time, Michael enjoys working with the Wounded Warrior Project, fishing, and improving his cooking skills.