Supply Chain Visibility Conference Stresses Need For New Thinking
Enduring Challenges Require New Approach To Demand Planning, Unprecedented Collaboration With Federal Stakeholders
Alexandria, VA, Feb. 24, 2023
– HIDA’s Supply Chain Visibility Conference brought together more than 110 leaders from across both the public and private sector to identify ways to increase preparedness and improve medical product availability. The event, a project of HIDA’s Healthcare Supply Chain Collaborative, stressed partnerships and information sharing as key components of supply chain visibility, in order to better match product supply and demand and avoid shortages.
“This was our fifth annual event, and it’s exciting to see its impact on collaboration,” said HIDA Senior Vice President Elizabeth Hilla. “HIDA is pleased to facilitate connections with federal partners so that we can work together to strengthen the medical supply chain.”
This year’s meeting, held February 8-10 in Cape Coral, Florida, advanced ongoing work to better monitor the health of the medical supply chain, and to create guidelines for releasing product from government stockpiles when needed. Distributors, manufacturers, providers, group purchasing organizations, and government agencies collaboratively identified ways to better share information and ensure products are available where needed.
Among the conference takeaways:
Government and industry partnerships are becoming stronger. Conference participants included leaders from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, Strategic National Stockpile, HHS Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response, and Food and Drug Administration. SNS experts offered a case study on development of the Supply Chain Control Tower, which is helping the government gained a fuller picture of inventory levels in the commercial supply chain. Participants praised the level of collaboration at the conference, and the ongoing commitment to maintain the strong lines of communication that were forged between the public and private sectors during the pandemic.
- Supply chain challenges aren’t over. Transportation experts warned that disruptions to global shipping will persist. Furthermore, the medical supply chain may never return to pre-pandemic standards such as just-in-time delivery. Stakeholders must adapt to a new “not-normal”.
- Demand planning must expand beyond historical data. Demand planning must include market analysis and awareness of external factors, such as shortages of raw materials. Historical data about patterns or production and consumption are no longer accurate predictors of usage for medical supplies. Data sharing across the entire supply chain ecosystem can lead to more accurate forecasting.
- Technology is enabling progress. Conference presentations highlighted ways that tech solutions are increasing supply chain visibility, from tracking shipments as they cross the ocean to sharing inventory levels at various locations.
Health Industry Distributors Association (HIDA) represents the healthcare distribution network – the essential link between global healthcare supply manufacturers and local care providers. HIDA members operate more than 500+ distribution centers to bring critical products, supplies, and services to more than 560,000 healthcare settings across the U.S., including hospitals, long-term care, physician practices, home care, and laboratories. Visit HIDA.org.