The health care supply chain management market is looking at massive expansion in the next few years. According to estimates from MarketsandMarkets, the vertical will be worth a total value of $13.81 billion by 2019, growing at a compound annual rate of 8.3 percent. This means that companies within the health care industry are in search of a way to improve their operations without increasing the costs associated with the business and implement better inventory management practices in hospitals in order to improve the quality of care.
Supply chain managers within the health care space come up against various challenges during their tenure, but none are more important than inventory management. Hospitals need to have the right tools on hand, and pharmacies need to maintain their prescription stock. How does the health care supply chain achieve success and efficiency?
A lot of chefs in the kitchen
Health care supply chains have a few important unique problems to deal with on a regular basis. RevCycleIntelligence contributor Jacqueline Belliveau noted that one of the biggest challenges for supply chain managers within this vertical is the number of players involved in each step of the operation.
“Health care supply chain management is unique because each stakeholder has their own interests to protect,” Belliveau wrote. “Different stages in the supply chain flow may be focused on their own goal. Providers may want to use a specific product because they were trained with it, whereas hospital executives aim to purchase the most affordable quality items.”
In either of the circumstances Belliveau mentioned, the supply chain has to operate effectively and efficiently. The only constant within the supply chain is change – evolving product lifecycles and consumer demand continue to transform along with the industry, and organizations have to adapt.
Another important thing supply chain managers have to deal with in the realm of health care is constantly evolving regulations. The unique device identifier mandate, for instance, has an impact on how certain life sciences devices move through the supply chain, with traceability requirements becoming more stringent.
Some medical device manufacturers are finding that they may not meet the UDI requirements in time for the mandate to go into effect. Health Data Management contributor Joseph Goedert reported in early August 2016 that a recent survey predicted only 15 percent of organizations would be ready for the Sept. 24 deadline, which governs the placement of labels on certain Class II and Class III medical devices. Infusion pumps, powered wheelchairs, medical apps, medical imaging systems and surgical needles are all included in this particular deadline.
One answer to the challenges of the health care supply chain is to integrate product lifecycle management with supply chain management solutions. By marrying product innovations with effective management practices and making sure supply chain data is being put to good use, health care organizations can take the stress out of their product lifecycle operations.
For more information about how the integration of SCM and PLM solutions from Oracle can help your health care organization improve supply chain operations and comply with industry regulations, contact the experts at Inspirage today.