Healthcare Supply Chain Under Pressure to Become More Efficient

Feb. 19, 2009
Almost half of supply chain managers will enhance collaboration with customers and suppliers.

Healthcare supply chain professionals revealed demand forecasting and planning along with data management to be the greatest challenges to successfully implement strategic plans for improvement. According to a study by Aberdeen Group, the life sciences supply chain is under pressure to become more efficient in order to help curb shrinking profit margins.

In order to meet increasing customer demands and remain competitive, 49% of respondents are planning to enhance or begin forecast collaboration with customers and suppliers. The use of Business Intelligence (BI) to support these goals is also a priority; 22% of respondents plan to adopt an automated BI platform in the next 12 months and 25% plan to do so in the future. Aberdeen's new report investigates the different scenarios for collaborating internally and externally with customers to manage inventory levels without letting customer satisfaction slip.

"Before any of the other top challenges can be addressed, life sciences companies must first deal with the issues surrounding the integration of data from multiple disparate systems and assess the resulting levels of data quality," states David Hatch, vice president, Aberdeen. "This may involve the requirement for additional FTEs with data management expertise, or the outsourcing of these capabilities to a third party with domain expertise."

The report discusses industry best practices -- such as adjusting forecasts for seasonality, obtaining a holistic view of inventory, and actively monitoring customer and enterprise performance. These actions are enabling a number of life sciences companies to more effectively compete in the current market.

The attention to order fulfillment and product utilization is one example of a Best-in-Class strategy. "Pricing in the life sciences supply chain is an important driver of competition for revenue, profit, and market share growth," states Hatch. "Best-in-Class companies show that customer management is about more than merely setting pricing strategy -- it involves perfect order fulfillment and visibility into product adoption and utilization."

To view the report, "The Intelligent Life Sciences and Healthcare Supply Chain" visit

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