Challenges of a Global Healthcare Supply Chain

Business is more global than ever today.

When links in the supply chain are broken or damaged, it affects the entire ecosystem. The challenges that affect the healthcare supply chain require a hands-on approach to fix. 

In a survey, 30% of supply chain experts cite speed and accuracy as top priorities. Getting health supplies from Point A to Point B requires you to first understand the challenges ahead. 

Consider these points so you can get to know the healthcare supply chain and its most pressing issues. 

Labor Shortages in the Supply Chain

Many industries experienced shortages in labor after 2021, and the supply chain was hit particularly hard. Key positions are left unfilled throughout different segments of the supply chain. 

It’s a challenge that you’ll need to navigate whether your company specializes in clinical supplies or hospital equipment. 

You can address the labor shortage by fine-tuning your recruiting and hiring practices. Do your due diligence so that you’re bringing in the top candidates who are capable and a good fit for your company culture. 

Find ways to engage your employees so that you can increase retention and reduce turnover. Invest in training for everyone from the top performers to new employees. This helps your staff feel fulfilled and will help you increase morale and productivity. 

Managing Transportation Costs

Inflation is affecting every sector and prices of a variety of goods and services are affecting the supply chain. Fuel costs are higher, which makes the cost of transportation go up. 

Companies will need to optimize the way they handle their transportation, budget more efficiently, and consolidate shipments. Form strong relationships with medical suppliers to keep costs manageable so that you can focus on speed without breaking the bank. 

Scarcity of Materials

Materials shortages in a variety of industries will also hamper the supply chain. This affects the way you handle ordering clinical products and will determine how you stockpile them and handle your inventory. 

The health supply industry is dealing with several shortages right now, including:

  • Catheters
  • Latex gloves
  • Vinyl gloves
  • IV tubes
  • Surgical gowns

Keep your finger on the pulse so that you’re more informed about your orders and are aware of which items are scarce. 

The Need for Data Analytics

The demand for data in the clinical supply chain will only increase in the approaching years. Decision makers need to be informed about every leg of their supply chain so they strategize, improve performance, and save money. 

As the supply chain grows, you’ll need access to the best data analytics that you can find. The industry of Artificial Intelligence (AI) within the supply chain is in its infancy when considering the amount of expected growth over the next decade. 

Companies will need to keep up and regularly educate themselves and invest in the data analytics tools that will keep them competitive. 

These analytics can optimize your routes and shipping methods to save you money and increase speed. You might also use data on the types of scrub tops medical professionals prefer so you can choose the best materials and designs. 

Having these analytics at your fingertips is a powerful resource that will only become more important. 

Prices Are Going Up

The cost of freight shipping is high right now with no relief in sight. You’ll need to work on strategies that will help you keep your shipping costs reasonable while also avoiding any slowdown. 

Prices are high because the demand for shipping is also high, so it’s a reality that you can expect to navigate for the foreseeable future. Invest in a strong team of financial experts that can help you handle these costs in the most practical way, while also protecting your company’s future. 

Needing the Right Equipment

There are also shortages in the equipment that professionals use throughout the supply chain. Not having the equipment that you need can slow down production, which can eat away at your profits. 

Build strong relationships with equipment suppliers and consider getting a subscription and service plan so that your supply chain is never without the equipment that it needs. 

Fleet maintenance avoids downtime while also managing your costs long-term. Take care of your equipment on the front end so that it doesn’t damage your supply chain at the worst possible time.  

Bottlenecks and Trouble With Forecasting

Various supplies and industries within healthcare are dealing with tremendous backlogs and bottlenecks. Many of these bottlenecks are unavoidable and affect several companies in the process. 

Combine this with the fact that the world has been hit with once-in-a-generation circumstances recently, and it makes the market much harder to predict. 

It’s difficult to accurately forecast within this growing industry because, in many ways, we’re in uncharted territory. There might be some trial and error as companies scale, but you need to keep damage from errors to a minimum. 

Combine resources with the best minds in the industry and use high-tech tools to help with your forecasts. 

The Business of Health Supplies

Health supplies are an essential need for providers all over the world. It requires a strong supply chain that can consistently move goods from one point to another in a speedy fashion. 

This business affects all of us, so attention to detail is necessary. Start with these tips and get the help that you need to manage the approaching supply chain challenges. 

Check out our other articles to learn more about healthcare, the supply chain, and other topics. 

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