Healthcare- like retail- is going multichannel
The good news is that we are living longer. But the consequence is that demand for healthcare is growing and will continue to grow. People are not only living longer, they are living more active lives, and the delivery of healthcare has to keep up.
In the past the world was more black and white; if you were ill you were in hospital – and that was that. Likewise the structure for providing healthcare was monolithic; one large National Health Service where each region was run as a centralised corporation. Suppliers had a single, or very few order points, and delivered bulk orders to large warehouses.
But suppliers can now deliver individualised quantities to a specific ward or home address. One can draw a logistics parallel with the car industry moving from centralised inbound warehouses to partnerships where suppliers deliver just-in-time to the assembly line. Where possible treatment is taking place at home and not in the hospitals.
To fit in with a modern lifestyle, walk-in healthcare centres are springing up in city centres around the country and private sector providers are carrying out services on behalf of the NHS. These changes force players in the healthcare market to review their supply chain strategy. They need to develop fast and responsive processes covering a huge and changing network of clients; supply chain visibility is at a premium. This is a market where just-in-time is essential and just-too-late is simply unacceptable. So how do you satisfy this market without losing control of costs and inventory levels?
With experience gained from fast moving consumer markets, combined with its analytical and modelling skills, The Logistics Business is helping it’s clients in healthcare develop responsive, economical and above all safe solutions. We have worked with NHS Blood and Transport to improve the logistics of blood distribution, and to improve the stock management and control of viral drugs (view the case study in the Knowledge Centre).
And we should not forget just how far this sector extends. The sales of spectacles and contact lenses are enormous through both high street retailers and on-line (view the case study in the Knowledge Centre). We have also helped a manufacturer of surgical components (Stryker) to develop their supply chain strategy – a vital requirement, for example, for the patient who is waiting for a hip replacement.
The Healthcare sector is growing and will continue to do so. An affective supply chain strategy is a fundamental requirement for companies who prosper in this sector and The Logistics Business can help our clients achieve it.