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Sourcing and Procurement

Digital transformation for healthcare supply chains post COVID-19

Has there been a modern medical event as monumental as the COVID-19 pandemic, which has sent shockwaves across global health procurement systems and supply chains?

This blog explores recent challenges to the healthcare supply chain management (HSCM) and how digital transformation efforts can improve the status quo.

Supply and demand challenges in the healthcare supply chain

  1. Lack of accurate inventory data
  2. Inventory data is not regularly updated and is highly fragmented between various stakeholders. Poor visibility into hospital inventory leads to inaccurate data sharing and impacts planning for vulnerable regions. A lack of automated tracking in operations prevents sharing of real-time data and optimal relocation of supplies.

  3. Inflexibility and hoarding
  4. There’s such a thing as too much reliance on distributors and third-party logistics (3PL). Hospitals (especially public hospitals) need procurement and supply chain management (SCM) systems that can adapt quickly to increasing demands by connecting distributors and suppliers for better visibility.

    Poor logistics and improper priorities also lead to hoarding of critical supplies, such as ventilators, masks, and other critical equipment, which should not be confined to warehouses.

  5. Slow manufacturing and innovation
  6. SCM is barely adequate if production is not ramped up quickly enough. The need for repurposed manufacturing facilities for quickly adaptable production is dire, but it won’t be functional without a holistic digital transformation that combines analysis, tracking, and automation.

The role of digital transformation in healthcare supply chain

The healthcare supply chain — with its people, entities, and resources — generates a vast amount of data. For supply chain transformation in healthcare, you need to be able to use this data right, as well as add and integrate technologies to boost the performance of supply chains at every level.

Supply chain digital transformation for healthcare would entail:

  • A shift to cross-functional teams
  • Digital transformation efforts can help break down silos within organisations and power a shift to cross-functional teams. Together, they would align with a patient’s complete care episode, improve systems integration, and offer a holistic look with shared risks.

  • Adoption of cloud ERP
  • Cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) software helps ensure data integrity, improve transparency, and make well-informed supply chain decisions. All this requires accurate insights based on clean, current data.

  • Enhancements in merger and acquisition activity
  • As medical centres and other entities go through M&A activities, high volumes of data will have to be safely and efficiently transferred. The responsibility for seamless data integration and related processes will fall on the SCM systems.

  • Strong focus on supply chain collaboration
  • The COVID-19 pandemic illustrated the importance of collaboration. This will continue in the near future in the form of regional alliances, higher investments in data management and forecasting initiatives by suppliers and providers, heightened transparency, cost-sharing stockpile strategies, and reliance on more clinical evidence for purchase decisions.

  • Improved adoption of data standards
  • Digital solutions will standardise many processes to support emergency response needs. That will result in increased efficiency, lowered costs, and improved patient safety. Cloud helps create a connected, scalable, and rapid supply chain, driving visibility, agility, and flexibility across the system.

Benefits of an SCM solution in healthcare

  1. Ease of use
  2. Managers, care providers, operators, and others can work with greater ease and maintain standardised processes. Additionally, communication systems will be integrated to help hospitals manage workflows in both clinical and financial systems.

  3. Scalability and superior service
  4. Consolidated management tools will help replicate processes in both single and multiple site locations. You can use technology to create highly effective workflow designs, define implementation needs, and provide support before, during, and after implementation.

  5. Supply chain methodologies
  6. State-of-the-art methods — such as Kanban, EOQ/ROP, ROP/ROQ, and consignment capabilities — and best practices for supply chain demands of specific departments can improve processes.

Tap into supply chain solutions from Infosys BPM

At Infosys BPM, we have built capabilities across services and technologies to partner in your procurement transformation journey. Our sourcing and procurement solutions provide access to advanced AI-based capabilities, enabling faster decisions.

  • Design thinking
  • We go beyond solving stated problems. We use design thinking (DT) to develop and execute solutions that are ‘fit for purpose’ and value packed, as well as define your underlying S&P needs.

  • Artificial intelligence and robotics-led automation
  • We use specialised technology to combine machine learning and industrial expertise, with a productivity of around 70–90% in transactional processes as well as increasing the effectiveness of both upstream and downstream procurement processes.

  • Advanced analytics and reporting solutions for S&P
  • You also stand to benefit from improved procurement metrics using descriptive, diagnostic, predictive, and prescriptive analytics solutions. Services also include skillsets across indirect, capex, and direct categories.
    Reach out to us for S&P services that enable long-term transformation in your supply chain systems.