How Can We Improve Health Care Supply Chain Logistics?

Director of Sales & Expedited Services
Jonathan Partee

In 2018, health care was an $8.5 trillion global industry, and it is projected to grow to $10 trillion by 2022. In the U.S. alone, the industry was worth $4 trillion last year.*

Managing the logistics for one of the largest and fastest-growing industries in the world was vital and complex even before the onset of the global pandemic. But COVID-19 has put this industry to the ultimate test, shining a light on the need for flawlessly functioning critical infrastructure to transport health care supplies from manufacturers to wholesale distributors and retailers — and the ultimate end users: patients.

Old Dominion facilitated a panel with three health care industry players at the 2020 LogiMed Virtual Conference, during which several themes emerged when asked to reflect on the impact of 2020:

1.) Having a resiliency / contingency plan in place is not an option, but a necessity. Many in this industry may have had a crisis plan, but it may not have accounted for a global pandemic impacting supply chains. Companies must think through all aspects of their emergency preparedness plans, including choosing the right partners to keep their supply chain intact and running during times of emergency. Talk with your logistics partners about having adequate capacity and flexibility to manage peaks in demands.

2.) Data is critical for managing logistics for the health care industry. Gather and use data to track your supply and logistics trends, even though predicting demand has become as much art as science over the last year. At Old Dominion, our customers saw a large influx of health care / medical products needing distribution to stores and medical facilities on tight timeframes. We anticipate this to continue well into 2021.

3.) Do not take anything for granted, including the ability to get the materials and products you need. It is better to go ahead and place orders for long lead-time items that are predicted to be in demand. Be stocked and be prepared to make sure your inventory is ready to move to market.

All of these lessons underline the fact that health care supply chains require a great level of sophistication, as shipments are often time-sensitive and need to get on shelves quickly. That is why many health care product manufacturers and distributors have increasingly moved to a delivery appointment model.

Predicting demand has become as much art as science over the last year. Our customers saw a large influx of health care / medical products needing distribution to stores and medical facilities on tight timeframes. We anticipate this to continue well into 2021.

Jonathan Partee
Director of Sales and Expedited Services

Jonathan Partee

Need More Information?

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