UPS study identifies strengths and weaknesses in hospital supply chains

UPS recently released its eighth annual Pain in the Chain Survey findings. The study sets out to identify key supply chain issues in the health care industry. UPS conducted a total of 421 interviews across the globe, including respondents from 16 countries.

Health care logistic executives provided key insights regarding supply chain successes and failures within the industry. After receiving this information, survey creators categorized varying aspects of supply chain management as strong, stable or weak.

The responses indicated that product security, regulatory compliance and logistics and distribution partnerships were areas of strength in 2015.

The breakdown
Product security saw a 20 percent increase in success rates since 2014. The study attributed this to more IT-heavy solutions as well as overall cooperation with law enforcement. Regulatory compliance rose 13 percent since 2014. Health care leaders are reportedly adapting well to new regulations and restrictions in 2015. When it came to addressing challenges within the supply chain, logistics and distribution partnerships were helpful tools and were also noted as a key strength point for the health care industry.

Only one supply chain area was labeled stable: product damage and spoilage. According to the survey, health care leaders have seen some success by partnering with better shipping companies. However, there is still room for improvement.

Cost management and contingency planning were the major areas of weakness in the health care supply chain. While cost management issues have seen some improvement, factors such as fluctuation in material pricing, increased regulations and rapid business growth have created major challenges. Spend management leaders will need to address this supply chain weakness.

Contingency planning is an area that is neglected by a large percentage of supply chain leaders, according to the report. As such, it remains a key point of weakness. Health care companies need to prepare for unplanned events in order to safeguard supply chain continuity.

Despite these concerns, Director of Healthcare Marketing at UPS Robin Hooker sees promise in the improvements made since the 2014 Pain in the Chain Survey, reported Supply Chain Management Review.

"What we find most interesting from this year's survey results are the strides that healthcare companies have made in just one year to address some top issues that have faced the healthcare supply chain for decades," explained Hooker to the source.

Looking forward UPS will focus on questions surrounding investments and strategic outsourcing, explained the source. Hooker named these two areas as critical for supply chain executives in the future.

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