Expert insights on navigating 2022 healthcare supply chain trends

After facing many unpredictable supply challenges in the past couple years, it’s important to carry any lessons learned into 2022. In a recent Q&A with Cardinal Health and Becker’s Hospital Review, Joe Walsh, founder of Supply Chain Sherpas, discussed how supply chain leaders can best prepare for the year ahead.

Walsh weighed in on combating ongoing challenges from 2021, anticipated data and technology solutions, and shared expert insight on 2022 healthcare supply chain trends.

Walsh first discussed what supply chain challenges from 2021 are expected to carry over into 2022. “The first is assurance of supply. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) shortages have become the norm and I don't think we're out of the woods yet. Primary shortages like these occur whenever demand surges for products that are directly related to supply chain disruptions. Secondary shortages occur when products are tied indirectly to a disruption. For example, a raw material plant might shut down due to COVID-19 and that affects production of finished goods used in the OR or the cath lab. We don't currently have enough visibility into secondary shortages until they occur. We've just started to scratch the surface to understand how pandemic, geopolitical, transportation, cybersecurity, labor, financial, or natural disaster events dynamically affect our supply chains” Walsh stated.

Walsh also shared some tips to combat the ongoing supply issues. One observed breakthrough included “deploying new and improved strategies to enable a more resilient supply chain. One example is dynamic sourcing which considers when an organization sole sources, multi-sources, brings manufacturing back onshore or even uses local sourcing. Providers are implementing operational infrastructure to prioritize critical supplies, to enable demand sensing and demand planning, and to catalyze more visibility. Inventory strategies, with costly and space consuming ‘just in case’ models replacing the ‘just in time’ models of yesterday. Cardinal Health’s Strategic Stock Solution is an innovative way for providers to stockpile and sequester their critical supplies from multiple manufacturers, in a cost effective and space saving manner.”

Data and technology advancements continue to impact the supply chain industry. Walsh discussed what he anticipates from data and technology in the follow year, “Supply chain resilience is an issue that most providers, distributors and manufacturers acknowledge. Promising technology innovations include solutions that identify the products that become critical in various disruption scenarios and then cross-reference clinically equivalent products across a broad network of manufacturers without competitive bias. Other important solutions are advanced analytics, and event monitoring solutions to help sense primary and secondar shortages. Demand sensing, demand planning and tools connecting trading partners are also showing early promise.”

For more expert advice on 2022 supply chain trends, read the full Q&A here. Visit our Supply Chain Center to find resources as you navigate supply complexities in the year ahead.

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