Three Tips for a Healthy Supply Chain

Supply chain is often an overlooked aspect for healthcare businesses. With the industry undergoing drastic changes, it is crucial to re-evaluate your competitive strengths and assess improvement areas including supply chain.
Ideas for a successful supply chain

The healthcare industry is facing a time of drastic change: Aging baby boomers causing an explosion in home healthcare. An increasingly globalized market and the requirements that come with it. Advances in technologies that require constant re-evaluation of inventory.

When the status quo is disrupted, it’s a perfect time to make a push to gain market share. Start by evaluating your competitive strengths and assessing areas for improvement. And don’t forget one often-overlooked aspect of business — your supply chain.

Words from healthcare experts

Your supply chain is only as good as the vendors that support it. That’s why your supply chain vendors need to do more than just pick up and drop off packages. The connectivity, experience and technology they can bring to the table were part of the focus at the HealthCare Solutions Executive Forum in October 2014.

In the white paper “Improving Profitability, Improving Customer Loyalty, Improving Lives,” healthcare experts talked about their needs in an increasingly complex industry. And supply chain vendors shared how their own role is changing.

Use these tips from the white paper to determine the strength of your supply chain vendor.

TIP #1 Expect connectivity and reliability

Look for a supply chain vendor with a highly connected network that aligns its shipping solutions to your business strategy.

Your supply chain is the connection between you and your customers. And it’s a driving force in your bottom line.

For example, reliability and speed are critical to manufacturers of generic medicines. Once a drug is launched, they have only a small window of time to exclusively distribute it. Every day their product isn’t on the market, they risk losing millions of dollars. When the manufacturer window closes, their competition’s window opens and they gain rights to sell the drug.

Being connected also means knowing the status of your shipments, and for some healthcare leaders, connectivity means having strategic alliances with companies that share the goal of combining knowledge and infrastructure. When inadequate infrastructures are between you and your customers, you want to know your supply chain vendor can still deliver.

TIP #2 Demand experience

As your business expands locally or extends globally, partner with a supply chain vendor who has proven expertise in the healthcare industry with knowledgeable resources.

Keeping up to date on customs and compliance is challenging ― especially when you’re shipping to multiple countries. You need a supply chain vendor that knows what’s required in specific markets. Temperature-sensitive and high-value shipments are at risk if they’re held up in customs while papers are being worked out. Make sure your vendor has the resources to speedily and seamlessly get your product in the hands of your customers.

TIP #3 Ask more of technology

It’s not enough just to know the status of a shipment. To set yourself apart from the competition and build an even better relationship with your customers, tap into new packaging technology that can maintain temperature integrity and sensor-based logistics that provide real-time data across the supply chain.

The supply chain is no longer just a cog in the wheel. As a healthcare leader dealing in high-value shipments, you should expect your vendor to share an expertise and interest in the products you’re transporting.

From proper packaging materials and packing methods to monitoring your shipments end-to-end, you want to know your shipment will arrive on time and that your product has maintained its integrity. Any deviation could mean replacement costs, risk exposure, and disappointed customers.

Tracking the status of a shipment for its location alone won’t give you this type of information. Monitoring a shipment for changes in environmental conditions or location in near-real time will.

When you utilize sophisticated technology such as SenseAware® powered by FedEx, you or your supply chain vendor can monitor these risks and react appropriately.

For example, if the temperature within the shipment’s environment falls outside a specific range, you’ll know. And if your supply chain vendor is proactive (adding dry ice, for instance, or storing the shipment in a temperature-controlled environment), you can trust your product’s integrity.

SenseAware tracks other risks that can impact sensitive shipments, such as exposure to light, shock and humidity — all in near real-time.

You need a supply chain vendor aware of and capable of managing these risks, whose technology exceeds the competition today and anticipates your needs tomorrow.

Get the details

Read what leaders in the healthcare industry are saying about how supply chain vendors can help you gain competitive advantage in a challenging industry. View the white paper “Improving Profitability, Improving Customer Loyalty, Improving Lives.”

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