Federal regulation of pharmaceuticals and medical devices are among the unique challenges that logistics providers face in the healthcare supply chain, says Andrew Wang, director of healthcare at Locus Robotics.
While every supply chain has its challenges, the healthcare supply chain is unique in having to contend with considerably more rules and regulations. Serialization, capture of lots of distributed product, traceability and quality are major areas of concern, Wang says. At the same time, the healthcare supply chain faces some of the same disruptive events that every other supply chain has had to deal with, especially from shortages because of the pandemic.
Disruptions of whatever kind are of greater concern in the healthcare space. “Getting product out the door in a timely manner is critical, because we could be talking about life-or-death situations,” Wang says. That’s why resiliency in the healthcare supply chain is indispensable.
As more consumers have moved their purchases online, the healthcare industry is seeing its customers do the same. “They’re taking their doctor’s appointments at home, and just like in the consumer goods area, customers are expecting pharmaceuticals and medical supplies and devices to be shipped directly to their homes as opposed to a pharmacy or to the hospital. And it has to be at their house in a timely manner.”
Home delivery adds another layer of complexity for manufacturers and delivery companies, Wang says. “That's where quality really comes into play. So ensuring that they're fulfilling the right order and that it gets to its final destination without any sort of tampering or any sort of issues is just that much more important.”
Healthcare and medical device companies are automating more and more for two reasons: human error is reduced, and resiliency is enhanced, Wang says.
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