4 Companies That Know How to Manage a Healthcare Supply Chain

Image via Flickr Nick Saltmarsh

The healthcare industry faces numerous unique supply chain challenges. Hospitals and other medical facilities need the supplies they order in a timely manner because delays can mean the difference between life and death. For instance, if a hospital ER department does not have enough saline bags, a patient could die of dehydration. Healthcare supply chains also have to manage refrigeration for some medications and other supplies, and any non-routine order must be expedited. Here are four healthcare supply chains that are doing things right.

Cardinal Health manufactures, wholesales, distributes, and retails pharmaceutical goods. The company has branched out into home healthcare with the integration of AssuraMed and increased its influence in the medical devices field with the acquisition of AccessClosure. Gartner ranks Cardinal Health as the number one healthcare supply chain company. One of the reasons this company does so well is that it uses lean six sigma standards in all processes and operations. Cardinal Health wants to achieve collaborative healthcare with all of its suppliers as well as continually work to streamline its supply chain.

Mayo Foundation

The Mayo Foundation has excellent supply chain leadership, and the company prides itself on retaining and developing talent. The company has a strategic plan to control patient costs and balance high quality healthcare at the same time. One thing that sets the Mayo Foundation apart is that its supply chain is committed to education and aims to change market dynamics. The Mayo Foundation has a logistics program where other suppliers can go to learn industry best practices and get tools to improve.

Intermountain Healthcare

Intermountain Healthcare is another company that consistently gets recognition for its efforts in supply chain management. The company recently opened a new supply chain center to service all of its hospitals in Utah and the surrounding region. This $40 million investment has gone a long way in improving supply chain practices. Intermountain Healthcare carefully selects its suppliers to keep costs low, and the company has an intricate network of couriers to deliver goods to hospitals every day.

Owens & Minor

Owens & Minor uses a revenue enhancement and clinical inventory system to avoid product recalls, overstock, and costly expirations. The company has mastered the art of efficiently moving product from one location to another with speed and accuracy, which is why Owens & Minor ranks among the top leaders in healthcare supply. Owens & Minor analyzes customer needs and makes forecasts to avoid letting items sit unnecessarily on shelves too long, so clients never need to order more than necessary. The company keeps purchase costs low through competitor analysis, and Owens & Minor’s integrated technology ensures that the supply chain runs as efficiently as possible.

One thing that all of these companies have in common is a commitment to supply chain consolidation and efficiency. When dealing with so many products and numerous distribution channels, it’s important to carefully analyze all costs and look for ways to improve profits. A network of good distributors is important, but so is an internal infrastructure of distribution, acquisition, and problem resolution processes.

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