I was recently interviewed by Modern Material Handling for the article Health Care Embraces E-commerce Trends. In the article, it is clear that supply chain practices in healthcare have come a long way in the past five to ten years. Historically, the margins in this specialized industry have compensated for lack of advanced healthcare supply chain capabilities. Now, though, the industry is no longer standing still due to the increasing pressures on margins, traceability and customer demands.
The often-touted “Amazonification” of healthcare is inspiring suppliers, providers and everyone in the healthcare space to check their posture. What is the white space that Amazon sees, and how are they planning on changing the game? As their first steps into healthcare supply chain take shape, it is promising to see their attention to the complexities of the landscape; there is little doubt that the e-commerce giant is elevating the dialog on the health industry, from healthcare e-commerce to supply distribution. We are at an inflection point in shifting from a healthcare provider perspective to a customer-experience mindset, and we’re all paying attention.
Borrowing best practices from other industries is not new, but it must be done with purpose. As customer demands create a convergence between healthcare supply chain and e-commerce, it is tempting to simply apply the latest e-commerce capabilities to this very different industry. However, lots of uncertainty exists in emerging trends as healthcare comes to grips with the regulatory requirements of DSCSA and UID within the US and global variants. In seeking out expertise to guide folks into the future, organizations will need to carefully evaluate their partners in the journey. Much like the era of Y2K panic, newly educated ‘experts’ may flood the market, based on limited experience and knowledge, to help companies cope with change. The most successful healthcare-focused organizations will start their journey early to create advanced supply chain capabilities before the need becomes critical — and will do so in a strong partnership with others in the industry.
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