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Process Management in Health Care Logistics

Well-managed health care logistics can be lifelines. Today, they deliver life-saving vaccines to the hospitals and clinics that need them to prevent disease. The transport of vaccines, which may require special care and timely delivery, calls for expert process management, as getting vaccines and other medications to the patients who need them require overcoming potential logistical challenges. Those obstacles include a lack of coordination, limited capacity, and damage in route. Process management can smooth a supply chain’s function by improving coordination, capacity planning, and conditions required for damage-free shipping. On top of that, process management facilitates timely arrival. Here’s what you need to know about business process management in the supply chain and health care logistics during the health crisis, and why it’s so important. 


Nimble Systems 

Coordination of health care logistics to create a nimble supply chain and delivery system is essential to immunization efforts. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “Successful immunization programs are built on functional, end-to-end supply chain and logistics systems.” The only way to make sure immunizations aren’t missed is to provide an uninterrupted supply of vaccines. Reaching this goal requires a system that includes the six rights of supply-chain management: the right product, in the right quantity and right condition at the right place, at the right time, and at the right cost.  


Supply Chain Management 

Professional supply chain management leads to healthier populations. Process management can help to create a smooth flow of vaccines, medical supplies, and other vital products from their manufacturers to the health care organizations and patients that need them. Poor supply-chain management, according to the WHO, leads to the waste of vaccine doses, vaccine shortages, higher operating costs, and fewer immunizations against potentially life-threatening diseases. Because of the importance of immunizations, the World Health Organization has prioritized the vaccine supply chain as a key building block of the Global Vaccine Action Plan. Supply chains are no longer only local. The world heavily depends on international supply chains providing vaccines and other vital medical supplies, writes Louis Gritzo in Forbes. “A high-performing, global supply chain needs to be rapidly activated for the (COVID-19) vaccine, and that supply chain can potentially set the stage for ones in the future that can withstand more frequent and severe stress tests,” Gritzo writes. 


Risk and Resilience 

Threats, including crime, corruption, war, and terrorism, affect global supply chains. That means process management efforts should consider risk management. The earlier these risks are identified, the sooner they can be mitigated. Resilience in global distribution calls for some degree of redundancy in manufacturing, assembling, distribution, and sales. “Given the urgency, the best path may be to establish the initial supply chain, using all the current best business practices, and monitor its progress (it is possible to track anything, anywhere now with the Internet of Things technology) while planning a secondary option in case it is needed,” Gritzo writes. 


Process management is essential to the smooth running of any industry. Its greater use in creating global supply chains will continue to help save lives by providing vaccines and other essentials.


Authored by guest contributor Jennifer Hole


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