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Supply Chain problems in healthcare Sector

Info-graphic Source: paconsulting.com

A wave of Health Consciousness and awareness has catalyzed the healthcare industry to pull up socks. The rise in income level, high risk of lifestyle diseases and easy accessibility of the life insurance plans have made a lot simpler to opt for regular health checkups and diagnostics, leading to strong demands for affordable healthcare facilities all across the nation.
With projects like Ayushman Bharat and heavy capital investment in diagnostics and pharmaceutical sectors in 2018, the growth of the health industry is likely to be projected to reach $280 billion by the end of 2020. Looking at the performance of the industry and attractive and tremendous opportunities for both public and private healthcare delivery systems, India is likely to become a hub for world-class healthcare services. However, there are some of the challenges which are major roadblocks.
GST regime announced two years back, had influenced the entire supply chain in the healthcare sector-from manufacturing to transportation and warehousing. The framework lacks clarity and quality issues are the existing concerns with which industry has to deal with. As healthcare services, medicines and equipment’s are running in high demands in response to the therapeutic needs of the population, hospitals, diagnostic and pharmaceutical companies are under a pressure to attain supply chain infrastructure. It’s underdeveloped and fragmented supply chain infrastructure that results in poor supply chain efficiency. For the growth of the healthcare industry and to provide the population with the best healthcare addressing supply chain problems is of utmost importance.
All healthcare service providers need to upgrade their services as people are more prone to lifestyle diseases like cancers and cardiovascular ailments. This means there is increased demand for manufacturing plants, warehouses, newer and innovative technologies and competent supply chain infrastructure for pharmaceutical companies and manufacturers of medical devices and equipment. But a still large portion of the industry depends on traditional statistical methods and limited tools to forecast the demands and lacks access to relevant data and customer insights. The wide-scale use of smart technology and tools in planning the optimal supply chain is the need of the hour. The scope of having sufficient resources to meet urgent or last-minute demands efficiently and effectively.
Various Regulatory Frameworks
The Indian Pharmaceutical market being third-largest in terms of volume has emerged as the hub for global manufacturing and research. The industry is growing at a CAGR of 22.4%, the post-market issues in the Indian pharma industry are the roadblocks in maintaining swift and safe growth ahead. The complaints, rejections, and returns of the products impact the product storage, handling and warehousing thus increasing the transportation costs. Failure of cold storage at the vendor site and non-compliance of requirements bear an additional charge on the manufacturers part.
In the case of exporting and importing goods and material to and from multiple foreign countries, quality compliance and regulatory policies and export formalities are headed by different authorities and thus differ across various markets.

Improved Supply Chain infrastructure is needed
The weak and incompetent infrastructure has long been hindering the prospective growth of the Indian logistics industry, the healthcare sector has to travel an extra mile to handle challenges like poor road conditions, inadequate seaports & railways, and underutilized air means. The lack of a robust cold chain network has widened the gap in the healthcare supply chain.
The special product which has a definite lifespan such as drugs and medicines or fragile equipment must be monitored across all stages and phases of supply chain management to deliver it to the destination site on time.
Lack of Transparency and Visibility
The current infrastructure makes product visibility and tracking for a company very difficult as they are unable to get complete details and there is no assurance from supply chain participants whether the products are stored and transported in the required condition. The products can be damaged even before reaching the destination site due to the bad road condition and improper handling conditions. The healthcare industry must focus on building an efficient and transparent supply chain. There is a need for seamless communication between manufacturers, suppliers’ distributors and customers in the healthcare sector through the systematic supply chain management system. The latest technologies like AI, Blockchain, and IoT should be used to make insight and available for all stakeholders to improve their services. This step can have a greater impact on the industry’s enormous growth as well as improved healthcare services.

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