Supply chain practices in the healthcare and life sciences industries are among the most complex and intricate in the world. When your products are used to save lives, the importance of high quality and timely delivery cannot be overstated. Implementing best practices as well as the appropriate technology will help you navigate the complexity and make sense of the massive amount of data flowing into your healthcare and life sciences supply chain.

1. Develop and refine standard operating procedures.

In many cases, poorly written standard operating procedures (SOPs) are at the root of a problem; they can result in poor communication and monitoring, incorrect data collection, loss of customers and profits, and a variety of other problems. In addition to identifying and eliminating errors and inefficiencies from your supply chain process, optimizing standard operating procedures (SOPs) can help you identify opportunities for improvement and growth.

The first step is to identify all of your company’s objectives. Then, in a step-by-step manner, explain how you intend to achieve your goals. Your standard operating procedures (SOPs) should leave no room for interpretation, but should instead promote reliability and consistency. They set the standard for product (and employee) quality, as well as for workplace safety and other factors. However, all of this effort is only worthwhile if the data is reviewed and normalized, and processes are continuously improved in order to eliminate errors and assumptions, as well as to keep up with changes in the market environment.

By laying out your standard operating procedures, you can begin to lay out a road map for optimizing your transportation spend management. Use of top-tier tools to ensure that the data on which your SOPs are based is normalized, up to standard, and centralized for user-friendly analytics reporting can help you achieve this goal even more effectively. When you have robust, high-quality data in your hands, you can make data-informed decisions that will improve the quality and service you provide to your customers while also benefiting your company.

2. Make use of technology to improve visibility across the entire supply chain.

By implementing technological solutions, you can gain greater visibility into your Transportation Spend Management from beginning to end. With practice, it becomes much easier to identify and address gaps or issues as they arise, before they become major problems.

As a result of the increased visibility, the complexity of your global, multi-carrier, multi-mode logistics network is simplified, and the risk of error is reduced. For example, our Performance Manager tool alerts you to poor carrier performance so that you can avoid shipping issues that cause delays and potentially dangerous disruptions to your temperature-controlled cold chain operations. When you have a thorough understanding of your Transportation Spend Management, it is possible to establish a standard of excellence that others can follow.

Furthermore, technological advancements enable you to automate business processes. There are numerous advantages to automating processes, including reduced human error, freed up resources, increased efficiency, streamlined communication and decision-making, and many more.

3. Develop a Tailored Request for Proposal (RFP) to determine shipping requirements.

What makes transportation spend management in the healthcare and life sciences industries so difficult and complex is the variety of unique and intricate shipping requirements, including security, temperature, humidity, pH balance, pressure, elevation, and other factors. All of these factors have a significant impact on the quality of your shipment, as well as its customers and bottom line. In addition, most RFPs were not originally designed with supply chains in mind, but rather for either services or technology purchases, which means that they are not universally applicable. A typical RPF for carrier selection is akin to trying to fit a square peg into a round hole; it simply does not produce satisfactory results. Not to mention that not all carriers are created equal. Global transportation is something that some people dabble in, while others have global resources, processes, and tools at their disposal.

Having the correct request for proposal (RFP) eliminates the costly mistake of selecting the wrong carrier who is unable to complete the job within the parameters you require. This error could result in significant financial losses as a result of lost sales or delayed or damaged shipments, among other things.

4. Form a partnership with a reputable carrier.

With a customized and comprehensive RFP, you will have critical insights in your hands before making a decision on which carrier to use. Creating comprehensive key performance indicators (KPIs) and robust carrier scorecards that measure carriers’ performance are additional—not substitute—methods of separating out the best of the best. These generate high-quality, refined data, allowing you to gain insight into specifics such as carrier damages and on-time delivery rates, invoice accuracy and timeliness, accessorial charges, responsiveness to resolution, and other factors that are critical to your business and customers’ satisfaction.

5.Understand your total cost of ownership (TOC)

Having a thorough understanding of TOC in healthcare and life sciences Transportation Spend Management is critical to success in this field. There are numerous direct costs associated with healthcare and life sciences, which 80 percent of executives believe will increase in 2020, as well as indirect costs associated with it such as patient safety, market share losses, product waste or expiration and sensitive brand risks, among other things, due to the complexity of the industries. To accurately calculate your TOC and keep it in line with your budget, you require increased visibility, which can only be achieved through a continuous influx of high-quality freight and financial data. Sorting out your TOC can also assist you in identifying and maximizing your savings by identifying unnecessary costs.

6. Conduct a continuous review of compliance

Compliance is another major source of frustration, as regional tariffs, differing government regulations, and differing customs clearance requirements all contribute to the complexity of healthcare and life sciences Transportation Spend Management (TSM).

Critical issues such as shipments being delayed at the port, which could cause them to be ruined if they are temperature- or time-sensitive, arise as a result of non-compliance. Shipments with specific shipping and handling requirements, such as these, require the full cooperation of your entire logistics network in order to ensure safe and successful delivery.

When a biopharma product shipment is stored at a warehouse, it is necessary to ensure that the handling and shipment comply with specific temperature requirements, as well as that the pharmaceutical warehousing is GDP certified. Take into consideration the fact that 20 percent of temperature-sensitive products are damaged during shipping, and you can see how a warehouse’s failure to comply can result in a colossal financial loss. Furthermore, the potential harm to your customers and brand is not taken into consideration. No amount of emphasis can be placed on the importance of network compliance in ensuring that your product arrives at its destination in good condition.

A combination of our tools, such as our Performance Manager, Carrier Management Services, and Match Manager, can assist you in achieving network compliance and optimizing your network performance. When you use our Match Manager to align freight-oriented data with supplier-oriented data, you will have better visibility into transportation costs, which will allow you to cross-check them and optimize your logistics network for performance and budgetary compliance.

7. Create a network of people who are agile.

If the year 2020 has revealed anything about the industry, it is that supply chains must become more agile and resilient in order to remain competitive in difficult economic times. Because of their ability to make informed decisions in a short period of time during the pandemic, businesses gained the upper hand and retained clients while onboarding new ones—leaving competitors scrambling to keep their heads above water in the wake of the pandemic. If you want to create an agile supply chain, you must have complete end-to-end visibility and control, which can only be achieved by optimizing your Transportation Spend Management processes.

You can position yourself as a market leader by optimizing the performance of your supply chain, its cost centers, and your freight data management. Companies that are successful take advantage of the most difficult times by widening the gap between themselves and the competition at a time when competitors are struggling to survive.

Transportation Spend Management in the Healthcare and Life Sciences Industry Has Been Simplified and Improved
As a result of the sensitivity and expense of the products, as well as the stakes involved, Transportation Spend Management presents unique challenges in the healthcare and life sciences industries. In order to avoid customer harm or extreme financial loss, whether it is due to financial challenges (such as cost control) or operational challenges (such as maintaining performance), it is critical for businesses to eliminate errors that can cause customer harm or financial loss.