Global Supply Chain Forum

4 challenges impacting the healthcare supply chain 

Wed March 03, 2021 11:44 AM

How technology can make a difference



COVID-19 has highlighted structural weaknesses in the healthcare system and, most notably, a persistent issue with the capacity and resilience of healthcare supply chains. Between 59-83% of organizations have reported delays or increased lead times in acquiring supplies since the onset of the pandemic. In response, 81 percent of these organizations adjusted their inventories, most by increasing inventory levels, to weather the demand fluctuations and disruptions.

Several major risk factors or underlying challenges have come into focus for healthcare supply chains:

  • Lack of resilience – COVID-19 exposed a need for greater supply chain resiliency. IDC emphasizes the importance for healthcare organizations to have greater adaptability to shifting pandemic conditions while positioning for the “next normal” post-pandemic. Of course, mitigating supply chain disruptions in healthcare have significant consequences for the bottom-line and patient care. Perhaps that’s why a recent survey showed that supply chain disruptions are now healthcare CEOs second-highest priority behind patient safety.
  • Lack of visibility – The lack of resiliency across healthcare organizations often stems from poor visibility, specifically a lack of quick access to centralized, consumable, real-time data from dispersed data sources and siloed systems. This makes it difficult to determine what’s needed, what’s in stock, and the scope of future demand. Ultimately, you can’t manage what you can’t see and measure.

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