Healthcare Supply Chain: Problems and Solutions

The CoViD-19 pandemic came without any warning and hit everyone. It disrupted all the businesses and left everyone in a state of turmoil. In addition to this, it also exposed the challenges present in front of the medical equipment supply chain. The pandemic took a toll on the medical infrastructure of almost every country. As a result, the holes and shortcomings that everyone was hiding resurfaced and dealt heavy blows to the medical architecture, from the manufacturers to end consumers. The shortage of essential equipment, like PPE kits, masks, special suits, etc., left doctors and healthcare workers in deep waters.

But what problems does the healthcare supply face? How can companies combat these challenges? Read on to know the answers.

Challenges in front of healthcare supply chain

Even after one year of the pandemic, the challenges that the healthcare sector faced persist. The issues are not only with the companies, but the general public is also equally responsible for this situation. Here are some of the challenges that are in front of the healthcare industry today-

  1. Exports Ban- Many countries stopped all international trades to control the spread of disease. While it worked positively in that direction, it birthed new problems in other areas. Due to the ban, China, the largest exporter of PPE kits and other medical equipment, stopped its exports. It resulted in a worldwide shortage of these essential items.
  2. Adaptability- Many companies came forward to help fight this shortage of equipment, but there were issues. There was a shortage of necessary raw material for them, and their plants were not adaptable to meet the requirements in time.
  3. Workers- The workers who worked in the equipment manufacturing companies were scared for their health. To stay safe from the pandemic, they stopped coming for work, and most of them even migrated to their ancestral lands. It created a problem at the very first step – the manufacturing.
  4. Hoarding- The people were also terrified for their safety. In that panic, they started hoarding medical supplies. As a result, it caused a mass shortage of these necessities in the country.
  5. Weak Management- The communication between the suppliers and the manufacturers also suffered during the pandemic. The suppliers could not give an exact figure to the manufacturers, and the manufacturers were unable to deliver on time.

These are some of the problems that came in front of the healthcare supply chain.

Solutions

The problems never come without solutions. Sure, these are trying times, but there is always light at the end of the tunnel. Here are some simple solutions that companies can implement to overcome supply chain issues.

  1. Contact between Suppliers and Manufacturers- A clear communication between suppliers and manufacturers can reduce the shortage from the manufacturers’ end, and suppliers can get some stock out time to place new orders.
  2. Innovation- Adapting to changing circumstances is not easy for large establishments, but innovating new ideas can help them stay ahead and meet the new requirements without delay. For example, in India, two professors turned nitrogen generators into oxygen generators to meet the needs.
  3. Procurement Tips- Companies and suppliers can use some medical device procurement tips to keep track of orders and increase productivity.
  4. Stop Hoarding- It is natural to panic, but it is not to hoard things you may not need. Buying medical devices in moderation is helpful for all people and healthcare workers.
  5. Bottleneck Eradication- In all supply chains, there is a bottleneck that slows the whole process. Finding and eradicating it will be a massive help for the companies and equipment suppliers.

This pandemic showed the cracks in the healthcare system of the world. It showed countries where they are lacking and how to improve. It is up to companies now to solve these issues. They have taken massive steps, and they can take many more.