Improving supply chain management is a recent focus of the healthcare ecosystem. Due to covid-19, supply chain management was disturbed totally. And many stakeholders face issues in managing it.
According to the report of the Kaufman hall survey, it is found that 99 percent of hospitals and health systems experienced supply chain challenges in 2021.”
After the pandemic, the use of medical devices and health products such as masks, sanitizers, and gloves increased. And which results in an increase in price and demand. And many industrial leaders think that increases in price and shortage of key products will continue in the future. But unless the one who is utilizing tech-driven solutions for their supply chain management they are in the safe zone of facing fewer challenges in it.
What is the role of supply chain management in healthcare?
A supply chain is a massive chain that holds the organization together and helps them to manage its inventory. But what is meant by the healthcare supply chain? The healthcare supply chain is a broad network of systems, processes, and components that ensures the availability of healthcare medicines and other healthcare supplies which are manufactured, distributed, and provided to the patients.
However, the supply chain plays a significant role in price factors as well. The law of supply states that a decrease in supply will cause the equilibrium price to rise. Whereas these rules can apply to all industry supply chain management including the healthcare industry.
Taking a scenario of a pandemic, a shortage of healthcare products was faced. And meanwhile, the supply of goods decreased. Hence, it results in an increase in the price of healthcare products and medicines.
Managing supply chain with the tech-driven process?
Managing the supply chain becomes an overwhelming process if it is not tech-driven. Technology plays an intense role in healthcare supply chain management. It reduces the efforts and time to reach the end destinations. For instance, pharmacies use tech-driven solutions such as pharmacy inventory management software. These tech tools are enabled with IoT, AI, and machine learning which are helpful in managing inventories.
#1. Adopt automation to improve the healthcare supply chain
Things are still running in manual mode. Medical staff often found the supply chain a headache. Finding documents of order, placing order manually, and then tracking the delivery. It’s such a complex, time-consuming and overwhelming process for medical staff.
As per the study in 2021, “86 percent of nurses expressed discontent with their system process and 80 percent want more supply automation.”
Using computerization and barcode scanning is transformative. Each individual item is codified and tracked easily. However, software and apps can help to manage this process. For instance, a medical supply delivery app is a kind of supply app that records all the supply chain activity in one place. And one can monitor it easily by accessing it.
#2. Use AI algorithms: To analyze blind spots of the supply chain
Analytical tools can help to analyze the blind spots of the supply chain. It provides a database with visual effects. For instance, using AI algorithms to analyze the monthly requirement of stocks And accordingly, it will place the order automatically. The data generated by AI guide us in taking necessary decisions regarding inventory management.
#3. Track all the movement of the supply chain management
With a real-time tracking system that is enabled with IoT. One can easily track the movements of their supplying goods. However, tracking manually is kind of overwhelming for medical staff because it is hard to predict the exact time and location of the delivery. As a result, tracking tools can predict the exact time and location of the delivery. But on another hand, cyberattacks also take place. So ensuring the security of data should be the first priority of supply chain management. Successful hacks can expose the confidential and sensitive data of the organization. They may also disable your entire electronic supply chain management.
How healthcare organizations can benefit from using a real-time supply chain?
This is a new age of data analytics. Where data is at the first point when it comes to supply chain visibility. One can not take difficult decisions if you do not know where things are going or the status of the current scenario. Once you have the data, you can start looking at hands-on information such as estimating the arrival of goods and how much goods are available in the inventory. Furthermore, on that basis, one can take the decision of placing new orders as well. An organization that doesn’t have a visual eye on the supply chain movements can face challenges in managing it including, managing, planning, organizing the data, shortage of goods, and waste of time and money. As a result, investing in real-time data solutions based on platforms gives real-time insights to your inventory officer. It will also provide them with full accessibility to trackable information which further helps them to take required decisions based on it.
Although, healthcare supply chain management needs to be improved in order to make healthcare available and easy to access for patients. Improving supply chain management of the healthcare ecosystem will be a relief for the medical staff as well as for the patients who get proper healthcare supplies when needed. And technology can be a helping hand to achieve that goal. Utilizing technology is the best key to unlocking supply chain management.