Define Supply Chain Resilience
So, what exactly is supply chain resilience and what does it really mean in regard to healthcare facilities? By definition, supply chain resilience generally refers to a supply chain’s ability to resist, maintain, and recover from disruptions and unexpected events. It is being less susceptible to disruptions while having the ability to come back and successfully operate efficiently after pandemics, natural disasters, shortages, and the list goes on. According to Ponomarov and Holcomb, supply chain resiliency is also expressed more in depth as, “the adaptive capability of the supply chain to prepare for unexpected events, respond to disruptions, and recover from them by maintaining continuity of operations at the desired level of connectedness and control over structure and function.”
What is Supply Chain Resiliency in Healthcare?
Healthcare is such an integral part of human existence and is undoubtedly essential to maintaining good health & well-being. In terms of healthcare, supply chain resiliency refers to an organization’s ability to maintain the flow of medical supplies, despite disruptions. It is a supply chain that responds rapidly, and can meet demands quickly, consistently, and without failure. However, for different types of facilities, this can mean different things. Hospitals, Clinical & Medical Offices, Nursing Homes, Mental Health & Addiction Treatment Centers, Birthing Centers, Hospice Care Facilities, Dialysis Facilities, Imaging & Radiology Centers, Orthopedic Rehabilitation Centers, Long-Term Care Facilities, Clinical Research Centers, and Clinical Labs are all different types of medical facilities that can, and have been, affected by healthcare supply chain disruption. None are exempt to the effects, and this is not an all-inclusive list. The resulting outcomes can be similar or very different for each.
For hospitals & urgent care centers, it is being less susceptible to supplier and manufacturing disruptions. This can mean having the ability to ensure that medications, fluids, and other healthcare supplies are still being received & provided to the patients that are needing them, even amidst disruptions and supply chain issues.
For medical suppliers, it can be working with numerous manufacturers to ensure that there are still other manufacturers to rely on for products, when one may be facing disruptions like natural disasters or shipping delays. For manufacturers, it can mean having access to enough raw materials from various locations, in order to continue manufacturing and supplying clients with finished products. Ideally, the goal is to be unaffected enough to avoid being completely shut down, and causing major inconveniences and deeper medical supply chain issues further down the supply chain.
What are Healthcare Supply Chain Challenges that Threaten Resiliency?
- Medical supply/raw material accessibility issues
- Uncontrollable circumstances, such as pandemics
- Natural disasters
- Depending on other countries as sole source providers of certain goods
- Port closures and shipping delays
- Cyber and data breaches
- Drug/medical supply shortages
How can we achieve it?
- Domestic manufacturing infrastructure
- Manufacturing network diversification
- Efficient/real-time inventory monitoring systems
- Multisourcing/alternative suppliers
- Rapid detection of foreseeable changing conditions
- Responding quickly to major changes
- Proactively developing response and recovery plans in place for when major disruptions can’t be avoided
- Collaboration with public and private supply chain stakeholders
- Enhanced end-to-end, data-driven, healthcare supply chain management systems, that are user-friendly for healthcare professionals
We’ve seen from our own experience how a collaborative effort and partnerships can improve supply chain resilience. This is why Isikel is dedicated to being a part of the solution. We will continue doing our part to develop the efficient, healthcare supply chain resilience that we all know can exist.
Isikel is prepared and ready to supply you with various medical supplies. Reach out to one of our reps here to start your order or learn how we can help get you gloves, flushes, solutions, and other supplies you need.
Jason has over 20 years in the medical industry, ranging from pharmaceuticals, to supply chain, finance, operations, and clinical engineering. Jason began his career supporting every aspect of the pharmaceutical industry and grew into a decade long career at AdventHealth. Jason transitioned to supporting UTMB’s supply chain senior leadership team while working at Premier Inc. Before starting with Isikel, Jason supported the launch of an extremely large health system, with 18 hospitals, and 300+ outpatient locations, with 110k assets.