UPS survey highlights US healthcare supply chain costs

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Managing costs tops the list of US healthcare companies’ supply chain concerns,  according to the UPS Pain in the (Supply) Chain survey.

Sixty-four per cent of respondents report were “very” or “extremely concerned” with managing supply chain costs, up from 55 per cent in 2009. At the same time, only 44 per cent of companies report success in addressing cost management.

The survey, covering 150 companies in the pharmaceutical, medical device, medical supplies and biotech industrie,s also found that almost half of US healthcare companies plan to expand into emerging market in the next 18 months, with China, India, Brazil and Argentina the top candidates.

 Bill Hook, vice president, global strategy, UPS Healthcare Logistics, said: “Globalisation of the healthcare market has led to numerous opportunities while simultaneously creating challenges. Among these challenges are country-specific regulatory hurdles; the security of high-value, temperature-sensitive products, and the difficulties of managing multiple suppliers. To manage risks while reaching new customers, companies must focus on building greater flexibility and visibility into their supply chains.”

Domestically, it said that senior executives were divided over whether the US government plans for healthcare reform offered growth possibilities or challenges to the survival of existing business models.

Of the senior supply chain executives surveyed, a third said reform would either open up new markets or create new customers. But 20 per cent doubted the ability of their companies “to afford to operate” in the coming new world; 26 per cent said flatly that reform would hamper their research and development programs, and another 22 per cent said they already had concluded their firms did not have the infrastructure needed to compete in the future.

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