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Ensuring an uninterrupted supply chain of healthcare products during a pandemic Listen with ReadSpeaker

Ensuring an uninterrupted supply chain of healthcare products during a pandemic

The healthcare industry across the world has been significantly disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. As strict lockdowns and the spread of the virus continues, global healthcare supply chains have been affected to a large extent.

The healthcare supply chains across Asia are strained as hospitals and the supply of pharmaceuticals, medical devices and life-saving products are faced with constant challenges posed by the pandemic. Yet, these businesses need to keep focusing on saving lives.

Balancing demand and supply chains amidst COVID-19 is challenging. While we continue to battle the ongoing pandemic in front of us, healthcare providers must learn from this experience and prepare themselves for future pandemics ahead.

The pandemic has pushed healthcare providers to work even harder, innovate and collaborate to stay resilient at an unprecedented pace. To ensure business continuity, healthcare companies need to prioritize several key areas involving managing resources and managing patient demand.


To overcome the ongoing environment and to prepare for the future, companies need to build a culture within an organization that everyone thinks about what to do and their roles in it. Having a comprehensive documentation process and cross-functional leadership discussions, the team is prepared to help each other and find the best solution as challenges emerge.


In the longer term, these organizations need to plan for recovery or when governments ease restrictions. Companies should also seek to diversify supply chains and have multiple sources for their key commodities and supplies that can be activated on short notice.


To strengthen the supply chain, a risk management framework that incorporates how the team defines, assesses, prioritizes, responds and monitors risk must be put in place. Risk assessments and forecasting models enable organizations to evaluate different risk mitigation strategies like supply chain, manage future uncertainties and balance revenue interruption versus cost control decisions.

As the pandemic is an unprecedented situation and most organizations lack the proper knowledge and measures to face such situations, it is vital to identify the right partner to help you through this difficult period. One example is International SOS, the world’s leading medical and travel security company with more than 11,000 multi-cultural medical, security and logistics experts to provide support and assistance in over 90 markets.


They have vast experience in dealing with pandemics and have helped companies, hospitals and healthcare businesses across the world establish appropriate pandemic response plans. Together with their infectious disease doctors, DKSH developed and implemented stringent health and safety protocols, designed specifically for this pandemic situation.

Asia’s public healthcare organizations have performed competently amid the pandemic. However, they are faced with strained resources as private hospitals in many Asian markets are required to channel COVID-19 patients to the government or dedicated facilities.


As such, public hospitals continue to face numerous challenges in staffing and having enough beds, equipment, medicines, and isolation facilities. Some have collaborated with the private sector in areas such as outsourcing maternity services or pharmaceutical deliveries.


Employees are a healthcare provider’s biggest asset and they cannot afford to have people get sick and subsequently hospital operations being interrupted. A vital part of this is ensuring all staff are kept healthy and safety measures like safe distancing and screening protocols are in place. This also means providing them with an adequate supply of personal protective and sanitation equipment.


Read more on how DKSH can help keep your workforce safe during these times: Keeping your supply chain workforce safe during COVID-19

Face-to-face interaction within the healthcare industry has forever changed. It has dramatically shifted now as we see different approaches between companies and customers. With continued deferment of elective treatments and social distancing, the shift of operations is towards telemedicine and digital options to deliver services.


The use of virtual doctors has been on the rise and telemedicine will become a catalyst for the whole industry. Asia has the biggest potential for telemedicine growth due to present low access to medical services as self-isolating medical practitioners are already using mobile and online apps to serve patients.


To embrace this, companies will require a shift in working with service providers, improvements in information exchange and broadening access and integration of technology. Data insights can be used to match products with specific patient needs as we move closer to personalized healthcare.


If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it is that healthcare companies and their systems need an agile roadmap and operational flexibility to sustain future crises and challenges. To help your business to understand how you and your team can be better prepared, speak to us at DKSH on our different tools available to help you manage customer information, client interaction and sales team enhancement.