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Logistics Of Healthcare Amidst Global Uncertainties

By Chevy Beh | March 23, 2020

To fulfill these rising needs and turn them into opportunities, it is pivotal for pharmaceutical companies to work with a resourceful logistics partner.

Global uncertainties can hit the global market hard. For example, within a week of the recent health epidemic, the equities market alone lost over USD $1.7 trillion dollars globally[1] and still counting. The closure of some global shipping hubs and disruptions to international supply chains have also disturbed different industry operations in an unprecedented way[2].

Turn uncertainty into possibility

As the maxim goes, crisis breeds opportunities. Epidemics have fueled the race for new technology innovation in healthcare. In addition to product development, there is also a rising demand on delivery requirement, including quantity, speed, security and condition control. Strong custom clearance capability is particularly crucial for live-saving and time-sensitive healthcare products to reach the end patients or consumers without due delays. In extreme cases, longer delays in pharmaceutical shipments may even lead to a wider spread of the virus, putting many lives at risk.

To fulfill these rising needs and turn them into opportunities, it is pivotal for pharmaceutical companies to work with a resourceful logistics partner. Global logistics providers like FedEx are able to assist with their expertise and professional abilities, offering support and customized advice with solutions like Global Trade Manager to help move shipments across borders and address changes swiftly.

Understand your options

As with every business, it is important for the healthcare industry to understand its business needs and plan ahead in order to react responsively when unexpected events emerge. For example, the recent virus outbreak has served as a learning experience for the industry. Disruptions in the global supply chain can put the global economy on ice and, worse still, hinder supplies of essential protection and medical products causing public panic and frustration. Faced with these challenges, businesses can play a more proactive role as opposed to a reactive one, by understanding delivery options from the aspects of lead time, distribution channels, costs and other unique criteria.

For instance, products such as vaccines and biopharmaceuticals need to be transported under stringent environmental conditions where temperature, humidity and other factors are tightly controlled. While this level of visibility and tracking do not come naturally, some logistics providers have launched dedicated solutions to support such needs of healthcare companies. Services like the SenseAware system by FedEx provide real-time intelligent monitoring for businesses to keep a clear line of sight and ensure suffice control on the environment throughout the shipment. Exploring and identifying the best-fit shipment solutions in advance give companies the agility to deal with unpredicted challenges and enhance their readiness to realize opportunities of growth.

Future-proof your business

As the health crisis stabilizes and production is back on track, there may be an influx of urgent shipments due to previous delays of commercial activities, depleted inventories and rebounded consumer demand at the same time. To meet such needs, a logistics provider with an extensive network will make a significant difference in avoiding disruptions to your business.

Technological advancement would act as the catalyst for future trends in healthcare shipments. Logistics companies have already started investing significantly in technologies and innovations, such as drones for drug and vaccine deliveries, to prepare for unforeseen public health crises as well as climate-related disasters like the bushfires in Australia, volcano eruption in the Philippines, and so on.

It is pivotal for the healthcare sector to work with reputable logistics partners who invest in technological innovation and are able to provide timely support to tackle different challenges. This will help optimize the industry’s supply chain and shorten lead time in fulfilling global demand amidst uncertainty, enabling healthcare companies to accomplish their live-saving mission.

For more healthcare and logistics insights, visit the FedEx Business Insights Hub.
About the Author
the author bio

Dato’ Chevy Beh


A Forbes contributor and former analyst, Chevy is the founder of Book Doc, a platform connecting healthcare patients and providers. He is an expert on healthcare in Asia Pacific and is based in Singapore.

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