Global Healthcare Faces Unprecedented Demand and Supply Challenges

In our blog we analyse the current demands facing the NHS and many healthcare operations around the world and we discuss some of the solutions

In these unparalleled times, the spotlight has well and truly been switched from Brexit and the global climate emergency onto NHS supply chain management in recent weeks.

In some cases this has highlighted best practices and for that the NHS and their procurement teams should be congratulated. In other areas, unfortunately we have seen a lack of planning, and where this is the case, these poor practices are in urgent need of improvement, such as the creation and distribution of PPE.

Certainly pooling together a range of categories from our publicly funded healthcare systems, including testing kits, PPE and ventilators does not help to understand where the problems lie as they are all very different and have far reaching complex requirements.

As Peter Kraljic defines in his matrix some of these will be leveraged items, others strategic such as the scarcity of the PPE equipment, bottle neck items such as the creation of new ventilator systems or consumables, otherwise known as non-critical items:

Kraljic Matrix (Source: Peter Kraljic, HBR)

These four classification boxes represent a different buyer-supplier relationship type. They each suggest a set of distinct sourcing strategies and they help to start and define the segmentation and analysis of different materials.

In the case of a ventilator it is not as easy as clicking onto Amazon Prime to order one, expecting next day delivery. With a multitude of components including electronics, mouldings, casting, wiring, tube-making, LCD, etc, not to mention the precision and accuracy required for these items, there is another level of complexity involved. With some coming from within the UK, but most requiring global sourcing with long lead times from single sourced suppliers, each aspect must be managed individually and effectively.

Within the less complex supply chains, volume and capacity is flexible and can be increased. However, for the strategic and bottleneck items this takes time. Therefore, contingency plans and close partnerships will be needed to ensure assistance in meeting the spike in demand.

Certainly, when you consider the chemicals required for testing kits, it is clear that some countries and governments are having more favourable delivery dates than the UK. When we look closely at the reasons behind this, either the relationship with the provider has not been invested in or the lead times for critical components has not been anticipated. The same will be applied to the antibody testing kits.

Therefore, understanding that not everything is a commodity and that all goods (and services) are different is the first principle to understanding and managing your unique supply chains.

That is why Procurement Central provide courses on this critical business skill to ensure that through partnerships the risks that arise during uncertainty can be mitigated and managed.

We know the importance of accessibility at this time, which is why we have created a range of on-demand and virtual courses for you and your employees to access to get the training you need right now to work your way through the current challenges and beyond.

Please do look through our on-line courses and get in touch to book your course today.

With our team of expert trainers, we can also tailor make a bespoke training course or consultation package to assist you and your team.

You may also be interested in this article by the Harvard Business Review;

‘Coronavirus Is a Wake-Up Call for Supply Chain Management’:

To read more blogs by Procurement Central, visit our Blogs page:

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