The COVID-19 pandemic saw a massive slowdown in supply chain and manufacturing for all industries, including healthcare. The demand for vaccines dramatically overwhelmed the capabilities of healthcare systems globally and revealed many inefficiencies in production and distribution. Even as the vaccines were approved for distribution, many did not receive their first dose for over a year. Here are some of the challenges facing healthcare manufacturers in 2022 and how they are preparing for the next pandemic.
When it comes to pharmaceuticals, outdated inventory systems can cause severe delays and oversight costs. Supply chains worldwide need to adopt more efficient inventory management systems to remain competitive and efficient in the years to come. As the demand for pharmaceuticals continues to grow and the industry capitalizes on this growth, companies must adopt efficiencies to remain competitive and meet demand. Inventory and supply management systems that allow companies to easily oversee their products from a single control point and make uniform system changes can save time and money and streamline day-to-day workflows.
Not only do companies need central systems to manage inventory, but the distribution of drugs and other medical equipment also requires high levels of organization and efficiency. Suppliers will continue to see inefficiencies without technologies that streamline workflows and assist with administration, such as RFID tracking and Cloud data storage. Rapid and reliable distribution of medical resources could include expensive, controlled transit and efficient communication with hospitals and other operations. With RFID tracking, suppliers have a quick and accurate image of where all of their inventory is along the delivery routes and can quickly communicate if any shipment is late, missing, or delayed. Improvements in healthcare distribution are essential for tackling future pandemics.
The manufacturing of medical products, including any vaccine, implant, small molecule product, etc., requires strict health, safety, and quality measures are met as set by the industry and government. These regulations can change quickly and often, as we saw during the pandemic. Companies like Avantor that manufacture medical products also offer services to help labs stay compliant. “Our emphasis is on quality in drug product and production services, from raw material procurement to cGMP manufacturing, handling, and distribution.” Avantor and other manufacturers stay up to date with the latest regulations and requirements for production and help healthcare providers get the resources they need as quickly as possible to meet demand.
The rising costs of manufacturing medical products continue to challenge many healthcare providers and distributors worldwide. Prices of raw materials and production have increased as the demand for these products increases. Conversely, workforces are dropping, and demand is putting more strain on supply chains. Data security is an essential aspect of any manufacturing and distribution operation, particularly those that deal with hospitals or other healthcare bodies storing patient information. Companies and healthcare organizations must improve their digital security and store data reliably to combat data breaches and loss of patient information. Cloud hosting has allowed many hospitals and other organizations to store and access patient data quickly and securely. As the demand for pharmaceuticals and other medical resources grows, these security measures will become critical for successful operations.
The COVID-19 pandemic revealed the many challenges facing the research, development, and distribution within the healthcare industry and presented an opportunity for many new technologies to be implemented that drastically improve healthcare manufacturing. As we prepare for another pandemic, these innovations will be essential for reliable and rapid responses.