Distributors’ Role As Trusted Supply Chain Partners

During this year’s public health emergency, the supply chain was stretched to keep up with an increase in demand for medical products and a shortage of critical supplies. But medical products distributors did what they do best - offering customers their expertise, helping find solutions to get the products they need to care for patients. Throughout 2020, HIDA has shared the story of a strong and adaptable supply chain with federal and state law and policy leaders, government agencies, and media.

Working with members, HIDA created articles, infographics, and white papers to examine the supply and demand impacts, availability of personal protection equipment (PPE), and a look ahead to the future. Below is a snapshot of these resources, which are available for member use.

“COVID has highlighted just how vital distributors are to the supply chain,” said HIDA President and CEO Matthew J. Rowan. “HIDA and its members for decades have focused on supply chain emergency preparedness, visibility, and integrity. We continue to build on our solid foundation to help our nation get through this crisis.”

A Strong Supply Chain

Medical Products Distribution: An Overview (Fact Sheet)  Without distributors, each healthcare provider or facility would have to deal separately with thousands of manufacturers and tens of thousands of products. Distributors save providers time, money, and effort while delivering the FDA-approved supplies they need.

Building A More Robust Supply Chain: A Public-Private Framework To Create A Pandemic Response Infrastructure  The U.S. healthcare supply chain is strong, but the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated it needs to be more resilient to respond to a sudden and massive increase in demand for medical products. HIDA’s “Building A More Robust Supply Chain” white paper seeks to leverage the logistical expertise of health industry distributors with the resources of the federal government to establish forward-deployed reserves of PPE and critical equipment, diversify and grow surge manufacturing capacity, and manage and replenish national stockpiles of healthcare supplies to meet the next public health emergency.

Healthcare Distribution 101 Help your team, your trading partners, and other stakeholders understand important reasons that healthcare providers rely on distributors for their supplies and the critical role distributors play in crisis response. 

Media Engagement HIDA began educating national, regional, and trade reporters, many of whom had never covered the healthcare supply chain and PPE, about the important role of medical products distributors who tap into their expertise to offer care-givers assurance that they will receive quality, FDA-approved products to treat patients.

Supply Chain Essential  This campaign recognizes the distributor and manufacturer teams working to deliver medical products during COVID-19.

PPE Availability And Stockpiles

90-Day PPE Stockpile Mandates Increase Shortages And Drive Up Costs Policymakers are consider-ing mandates for healthcare providers to maintain long-term stockpiles of critical supplies such as PPE. These mandates are likely to increase supply shortages and drive up costs to hospitals. A better solution is to stockpile government controlled pandemic supplies at the country’s 500+ existing distributor warehouses across the U.S., positioning inventory close to healthcare providers for immediate surge needs during a crisis. 

HIDA CEO Presents On Medical Industry PPE Demand To Defense Department  HIDA President & CEO Matthew J. Rowan presented medical industry PPE demand projections during a live Virtual Information Session, Current And Future Demand For Domestic Personal Protective Equipment, hosted by Department of Defense’s COVID-19 Joint Acquisition Task Force and the Defense Logistics Agency. The meeting’s goals were to help current and potential PPE suppliers understand the PPE require-ments across multiple sectors of the economy as well as to discuss how the medical device industry and government agencies can partner in the planning for and consumption of domestically-produced PPE.

Medical Products Distribution By-The-Numbers U.S. healthcare distributors provide the infrastructure of the nation’s medical products supply chain. This infographic outlines how commercial distribution reaches every provider location and all care settings, from hospitals to patients in their homes, and everything in between.

Albany Times-Union: Large Medical Product Stockpiles Divert Supplies From The Front Lines To The Back Shelf  This op-ed by HIDA’s president and CEO addresses proposals like those by New York that require healthcare providers to maintain a 90-day stockpile of critical medical supplies, highlighting how they can divert supplies from the front lines to the back shelf of a warehouse.

Demands And Shortages

COVID-Driven Demand Created Supply Problems That Have Challenged The Supply Chain The COVID-19 pandemic has driven demand for supplies sky-high at a time of global supply constraint, as this infographic shows. Worldwide demand has increased greatly and swiftly at the same time a major manufacturing center has decreased supplies. 

A Lack Of Manufacturing Capacity Is Causing A Global Glove Shortage This infographic outlines the factors driving single-use glove demand, and how medical products distributors can help mitigate shortages.

What Does Allocation Mean? When medical supplies are limited, distributors may place them on allocation, as outlined in this infographic. Allocation is a system designed to distribute a fair proportion of available supplies among healthcare providers when there are shortages. This preserves inventory for customers as long as possible.

Opportunistic Brokers Corrupt The Supply Chain

Difference Between Distributors And Brokers This visual one-page chart helps to quickly differentiate opportunistic traders from legitimate com-mercial distributors who are working to ensure a reliable flow of high quality medical products to providers. 

What Happens When Brokers Get Involved Opportunistic traders should not be confused with legitimate commercial distributors working to ensure a reliable flow of high-quality medical products to providers.

A Path Forward

Lessons Learned: A Path Forward For Pandemic Planning HIDA President and CEO Matthew J. Rowan authored an opinion piece illustrating the unprecedented challenges COVID-19 created for the healthcare supply chain. To better prepare for a potential virus resurgence and avoid future product shortages, he recommends that government agencies partner with commercial distributors to manage a national reserve of key products and increase diversity and elasticity throughout the supply chain.

COVID-19 Supply Chain Summit As part of HIDA’s 2020 Streamlining Healthcare Expo & Business Exchange, experts shared insights on a wide range of topics from pandemic preparedness to selling virtually amidst the pandemic.

Executive Briefing | November-December 2020

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