Healthcare supply chains are highly regulated, high-margin domains with stringent quality criteria, such as the demand for cold-chain storage and shipping. In addition, due to a lack of adequate understanding of the complicated rules governing healthcare products and services, medical aid providers are encountering inefficiencies while outsourcing capabilities to logistics service providers (LSPs).
In today's value-based care paradigm, healthcare leaders are tasked with improving patient outcomes while decreasing costs. With surging globalization, the growing cross-border nature of several medical products, and rising complexities in healthcare logistics, the need for building a robust supply chain is rapidly increasing across the healthcare industry.
Key Ways to Enhance Healthcare Supply Chain
A resilient supply chain plays a vital role in managing supplies, procuring resources, and shipping medical goods, among others, which assists in improving patient outcomes, enhancing service efficiency, and declining costs. Healthcare organizations are aiming to strengthen their supply chain to enjoy these benefits such as increased reimbursement, improved quality control, reduced inventory and overhead costs, and better collaboration with suppliers.
Here are some of the key ways to assist medical aid providers in building a strong healthcare supply chain
Develop effective inventory management
Manufacturers frequently encounter difficulties with timely inventory movement through their supply chains. Revenue is lost, and profit margins are harmed when products expire because they are not used adequately. This is why it is crucial to effectively manage the inventory process.
Hence, healthcare executives should deploy a high-quality equipment management system and increase collaboration between organizations, suppliers, and manufacturers to assist them in controlling inventory levels and effective inventory management.
Use technology and analytics to make operations run smoother
When it comes to supply chain management automation, the healthcare sector continues to lag behind other sectors. This is true for both the enterprise resource planning (ERP) functions and data analytics use for making decisions about forecasting and product choice.
Healthcare executives should make use of efficient technologies, such as solid analytics, in order to successfully improve a supply chain. Implementing data analytics and automation tools can assist in making healthcare supply chain management more efficient and effortless.
Widen and strengthen the supplier base
One of the most effective ways to build a robust healthcare supply chain is by increasing the number of suppliers and enhancing supplier base management.
Manufacturers and purchasers should abandon using single-or limited-source supply chains for raw materials and finished goods. This will assist healthcare companies in expanding their network of raw material suppliers and helps in careful consideration of which suppliers to use for procuring which resources.
Improve order accuracy and order cycle times to lower costs
Healthcare providers sometimes encounter a large number of errors during the ordering process. When incorrect products are ordered, the facilities face losses in revenue and are sometimes unable to deliver specific services due to the unavailability of products they need. Errors in placing orders can also result in medication errors. This can lead to a decrease in patient outcomes and negatively impact the company’s revenue growth.
To reduce the frequency of errors, these providers should deploy a computerized provider entry system. This will help improve order accuracy, increase supply chain efficiencies, and shorten turnaround times in healthcare ordering processes.
Consistently track and calibrate performance
Regardless of the size of the healthcare facility, it is of great importance for medical aid providers to carefully track and calibrate their performance frequently or on a specified timeline. This enables clinically integrated supply chains in healthcare to use key performance indicators (KPIs) to compare outcomes in terms of cost and quality and make decisions about products.
The rising integration of novel disruptive technologies such as data analytics, the internet of things, artificial intelligence, and blockchain into healthcare supply chain management software is facilitating smooth operations, transparency, growth, and security across the life-science industry.
With a growing need for enhancing supply chains, healthcare providers are focusing on deploying advanced supply chain management solutions, such as healthcare logistics software, to strengthen their supply chains. As the trend continues to grow, the sales of healthcare supply chain management software and services are anticipated to rise from the US$2.2 billion registered in 2020 to US$3.3 billion by 2025.