Regulatory compliance is the top supply chain worry for healthcare executives for the third consecutive year, according to a survey from logistics firm UPS.
The concern was cited by 60 per cent of respondents to the seventh annual Pain in the (Supply) Chain study. It also found 78 per cent of those surveyed said regulatory compliance and increasing regulation is a “top trend driving business and supply chain changes”. UPS questioned 530 executives in the sector.
The report added: “Product protection also is increasingly challenging in a highly global marketplace, with 46 per cent citing product security as a top challenge and 40 per cent citing product damage and spoilage as a top concern.”
But only 26 per cent of healthcare executives said contingency planning is a top worry. Almost 35 per cent based in Asia and 22 per cent in Latin America said more than a quarter of their companies’ supply chains had been affected by unplanned events in the past three to five years.
The study explained companies that successfully mitigate risk are “leveraging partnerships along with ongoing technology investments”. UPS said of those surveyed, 78 per cent cited logistics and distribution partnerships as a top strategy to manage supply chain costs.
It added: “65 per cent use logistics and distribution partnerships to successfully access global markets; 61 per cent use collaboration to successfully embrace new distribution and go-to-market channels, while 23 per cent use mergers and acquisitions to do so.”
Globally, over the next three to five years, 80 per cent of respondents said they will invest in new technologies, according to the study.
“Companies that embrace new technologies and transformative supply chain strategies to mitigate risks will be more likely to capitalise on new growth opportunities in the healthcare marketplace of tomorrow,” said John Menna, UPS vice president of global healthcare strategy.
The survey also found there are many “untapped opportunities” in the healthcare supply chain. “One of these areas is in leveraging new distribution channels and models to meet changing customer demands as e-commerce, urbanisation and home healthcare grow,” the survey said. “Over the past two years, 70 per cent or more of those surveyed both years have indicated that they plan to increase their usage of new distribution channels, yet over this same time period their channel mix remains nearly identical.”