As you know, managing a healthcare supply chain can be highly complex, even at the best of times. For example, in times of a global pandemic, which includes an unprecedented race to distribute vaccines, you will inevitably have to deal with supply chain delays, disruptions, and complete shutdowns.
What is Healthcare SCM?
And before we begin to analyze all the nuances, we need to understand what is healthcare supply chain management and how it is used in the medical field.
Healthcare supply chain management (SCM) regulates the flow of medical supplies and services from manufacturer to patient, which includes planning and controlling sourcing, purchasing, logistics, and utilization.
Two significant blocks are usually distinguished as part of SCM systems:
- Supply chain planning – planning and scheduling, collaborative forecasting solution, supply chain network design, simulation of various situations, and analysis of the level of execution of operations;
- Supply chain execution – tracking and monitoring the execution of logistics operations.
In terms of supply chain planning, the toolkit can vary. For example, not so many medical organizations use specialized software. Instead, most of them work with Excel or other Microsoft tools, and the minor part uses low-tech tools or nothing.
In terms of supply chain execution, experts distinguish two solutions: a countrywide solution and at the level of an individual medical organization. In addition, every country is trying to standardize healthcare infrastructure as an essential factor in DRM through increased transparency and security.
At the company level, the toolkit is extensive, as a rule, it is custom healthcare supply chain management software development tools, including standardization of supplies, cooperation between hospitals to increase purchasing activity for economic, environmental, and ethical purposes, purchase of reusable products, etc. In general, company strategies focus on cooperation with other medical organizations.
SCM beyond corporate boundaries
This is why creating the right supply chain management is a large and complex job that goes beyond the company’s internal work. It also involves external suppliers or partners to operate in the best possible way. For this reason, effective supply chain management requires collaboration and risk management to create alignment and communication between all involved (internal and external to the company). Today, it is critical for a manufacturing company not to focus on relationships outside the company to improve distribution and supply chain efficiency.
Benefits of Good Supply Chain Management
Good supply chain management leads to benefits in terms of efficiency, lower costs, higher profits, and increased collaboration. Supply Chain Management enables companies to manage demand better, move the right amount of goods, manage breakdowns, minimize distribution costs, and meet customer demand as efficiently as possible. These benefits can only be achieved by choosing effective strategies due to the increasing complexity of today’s production chains.