Why Healthcare Supply Chains Need To Be Pandemic-Proof
COVID-19 drastically reconfigured healthcare supply chains around the globe. We look at the trends shaping cold-chain logistics in the post-pandemic era.
1. The power of networks
Asia’s economies are already highly integrated into global supply chains. But they still need to integrate more to enable large-scale distribution of vaccines, pharma, life science and medical products, particularly in areas with less-developed logistics infrastructure. What that really means is our networks must be constantly at the ready, not just to drive critical healthcare products through cold-chain networks, but to accelerate changes that help make supply chains more adaptive and flexible. Life Sciences hubs and other cold-chain facilities already demonstrate that importance of network.
Our own FedEx Express network was founded about 50 years ago based on a physical hub and spoke system. But now - even more exciting – is the power to increase value and scale exponentially with even greater point-to-point connectivity and through technology. Which leads me to the second trend, the shift to digital.
2. The shift to digital
Vast cold-chain resources around the world give more people access to life-saving pharma products, including vaccines. Digital advances make it easier to eliminate coverage gaps,and to identify compliance and integrity challenges before they become an issue.
As digital is increasingly embedded in global supply chains, expanding visibility across the entire journey is the key to delivering outstanding customer experience. And real-time information empowers cool-chain ecosystems, providing the agility that’s so critical right now. Seamless digital standards in procedures, documentation such as electronic Air Waybills, packaging, and regulations are now essential for compliant cold-chain commerce. Tracking tools and devices to monitor temperature-sensitive shipments are rapidly moving from optional to standard requirements.
3. Solutions must be fit for purpose
Of course, the current priority for healthcare logistics is COVID-19 vaccines. Moving billions of COVID-19 vaccines quickly and safely around the world in a landscape of significant unpredictability is our greatest challenge - getting vaccines to the countries and the people who need it most.
Our job is to handle vaccine distribution AND supply chain requirements of customers simultaneously. Against that backdrop, we’re seeing continued expansion in cold-chain facilities and capacity. That expansion is necessary in order to scale up and provide the speed and precision that healthcare customers need right now.
Vaccine distribution is some of the most important work we have done. COVID-19 has highlighted our very clear sense of purpose. Our industry can, and is, making a very real difference in society. And our journey continues.