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Top Supply Chain & Logistics Strategies To Better Health Care Sector

People are becoming more susceptible to lifestyle illnesses like cardiovascular diseases these days. Moreover, the pandemic has shaken the world like never before. It's high time for our health sector to be proactive and channelize efforts to improve their services.

This means that pharma businesses and medical device & equipment makers need production plants, warehouses, innovative technology, and professional supply chain infrastructure to facilitate top-notch facilities for everyone.

However, The supply chain is not organised in the manner it should be since a substantial percentage of the sector still depends on conventional statistical methods and inadequate IT tools to estimate demand, and lacks access to important data and consumer insights.

The healthcare industry is under tremendous pressure to enhance customer service, material handling, and inventory management while lowering costs. Healthcare organizations must seek ways to save costs while maintaining the quality of patient care and clinical procedures, owing in part to decreased payments for their services.

What Is Hindering the Growth of India's Healthcare Logistics?

Poor and ineffective infrastructure has long hampered the Indian logistics industry's potential growth. The healthcare sector must go the additional mile to prepare for challenges such as bad road conditions, insufficient seaports and railroads, and underused air routes.

The lack of a comprehensive cold chain network, particularly in pharma, has worsened the gap in the healthcare supply chain.

Specialty items with a finite lifespan, such as medications and medicines, or fragile equipment, must be closely monitored throughout the supply chain management process in order to arrive at the target location on time.

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Top Strategies to Improve Health Care Logistics

Healthcare logistics innovation enables the emergence of a new type of value-based supply chain. However, considering the emerging need for healthcare facilities, we must focus on building a new patient-centered model of care delivery, while also adjusting to the specific demands of agencies.

1. Outsourcing to 3PLs & Installing Multi-Tenant Digital Warehouses

More and more healthcare providers are opting to work with healthcare-specific third-party logistics businesses.

The following are some of the benefits of partnering with a 3PL:

  • Third-party logistics companies provide neoteric technology needed to streamline the supply chain. Transportation management systems (TMS), freight audit and payment solutions, route and consolidation optimization tools, data analysis, real-time order monitoring, and other tech features contribute to a more automated and simplified supply chain management.
  • Having a half-full warehouse is an unsustainable option since you'll have to pay to maintain the entire infrastructure, even for the bits that aren't being used. You can utilise third-party logistics providers' warehouse infrastructure to cut warehouse costs. 
  • A 3PL is likely already in contact with thousands of carriers with whom it has strong ties. You can rest assured that your items are secure and sound in their hands since you have such a diverse network of reliable professionals at your disposal.

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2. Implementing Automated & Technology Enabled Logistics

In the healthcare business, a structured and digitised supply chain management system is critical for ensuring smooth communication between manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, and customers. The latest technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, and the Internet of Things (IoT), should be leveraged to make relevant data and insights available to all industry stakeholders so that they may enhance their services and operations. This move has the potential to have a bigger influence on the industry's strong growth as well as better patient care.

Not only can effective digitisation of operations assist to save time and labour, but it can also help to create proactive consumer involvement, develop trust, and increase productivity. An integrated Warehouse automation system that uses the best of IoT, Robotics, and Machine Learning enabled devices can help monitor the accurate temperature-controlled storage environment, drive energy optimization, and enable workers to keep stock, log arrival and departure of shipments, predict and report any possible damage, and keep the warehouse efficiently functioning, 24 hours a day, with little human intervention.

ML and IoT, including robotics, have also been used for warehouse automation, driverless vehicles, and drone-based delivery, among other things, all of which can be critical for temperature-controlled pharmaceutical supply chains.

3. Reduce Multiple Touch Points & Consolidate Freight

In the freight consolidation process, a shipper consolidates multiple shipments within a geographic region into a single shipment container, which is then line hauled to a destination point, where the smaller shipments that were part of the consolidation are broken down and shipped to their final destinations, or the single shipment is delivered directly to the final destination.

The majority of freight in the healthcare industry is handled via LTL (less-than-truckload) services, which means that vehicles are rarely fully loaded. Third-party logistics businesses understand that the most cost-effective approach to convey freight is to combine shipments from several shippers whose goods are bound for the same destination.

Furthermore, compared to the typical LTL strategy, consolidating freight implies:

  • Fewer product contacts 
  • Fewer possible claims and damage 
  • Single shipment saves cost & time
  • Improves visibility & Tracking
  • Reduces Dock Congestion

5. Find Partners with Industry Expertise & Network

Healthcare third-party logistics teams are familiar with the industry's best practices. They are aware of the policies regarding pick-up and delivery periods, order configuration, equipment, and scheduling, among other things. They know how to communicate the demands of healthcare companies to insurance carriers.

This can have a significant impact on performance. In addition, your 3PL has developed numerous industry ties and transportation experience in your business, which can benefit your entire operations.

Before handing over a product to a driver or ordering a product from a manufacturer, a healthcare institution must confirm that it is in the appropriate hands. However, if you seek the support of a logistics provider, you can rely on their already verified and competent network to secure your supply chain.

3PL maintains connections with hundreds or even thousands of drivers and has a diverse carrier base. Moreover, they will have access to a wide range of solutions and possibilities because of their diverse network, which may save you a lot of time.

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Benefits of Implementing 3PL-Enabled Health Care Logistics

When you delegate logistics to a third-party organisation, you free up time and resources to focus on providing the best possible care to your patients or delivering medical supplies and equipment. Moreover, 3PL partners with their industry expertise and technology place sustainability at the forefront by saving the planet.

To amplify your supply chain management operations, a third-party logistics provider can assist you in reducing the need to invest in employees, technology, warehouse space, and transportation. Staffing, auditing, optimising, training, and developing different supply chain operations will be handled by your 3PL partner.

The following are some of the things that a 3PL may help you with:

  • Communication between the driver and the facility
  • Management of problems
  • Tracking of orders
  • Scheduling appointments
  • Choosing the proper service model & supplier and making a reservation
  • Reporting on performance
  • Invoices and paperwork

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Streamlining Healthcare Industry Through Logistics

Healthcare systems throughout the world are running out of resources at a time when the demand for high-quality treatment is increasing. Governments and healthcare institutions are under increasing pressure to save costs while preserving service quality. Time demands a stringent need to cut supply chain costs while improving patient outcomes and aligning supply chain goals with a patient-first strategy.

Establishing the right partnerships with 3PL providers and trading partners is one of the key solutions to this growing problem that is shaking up the healthcare industry. Third-party logistics providers can help healthcare organizations build an efficient supply chain, saving them time and money; by implementing top-notch technology-assisted practices that save time, lives, and the planet.   

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