Regulations can get in the way of growth, but supply chain management software can help


describe the imageThe majority of international industries are subject to a growing number of regulations and standards that can result in a fine or other penalty for noncompliance. The healthcare industry, in particular, is faced with numerous regulations and changes that are evolving everyday.

In order to stay on top of compliance standards without disrupting operations and efficiency, many healthcare executives are relying on supply chain management software and solutions to keep on pace.

The annual UPS Pain in the Supply Chain healthcare survey revealed 80 percent of healthcare executives have plans to enter global markets and invest in new technologies within the next three to five years. The decision to expand internationally through the use of innovative products and solutions underscores the important role supply chain software plays in the competitive marketplace. Pharmaceutical, biotech, medical device and supply companies worldwide are using the technology to differentiate themselves from competitors, maintain product integrity and boost efficiency now and in the future.

"Healthcare companies are feeling the pressure to expand and drive new growth while containing costs and ensuring compliance around the globe," said Bill Hook, vice president of global strategy at UPS Healthcare Logistics. "That has only heightened the need to build more global flexibility, integration and transformation into the healthcare supply chain."

Problems in the chain
Despite the healthcare industry finding new ways to evolve with changing regulations, 52 percent of executives consider increasing standards, legislation and other alterations to the industry as the top concern. Intellectual property protection is also in the top three concerns, with 48 percent of executives looking for solutions to combat these rising demands.

In addition, healthcare executives are struggling to reduce or maintain supply chain costs, product security and product integrity while adapting to the new standards. While developed countries are facing challenges in their supply chain management, emerging markets are considering supply chain problems as the top concern when looking to expand into new territories.

"Concerns around regulatory compliance and cost management have been constants for healthcare supply chain decision-makers over the past five years while we've seen growth in concern around areas such as product security and product protection," said Scott Szwast, UPS Healthcare Segment marketing director. "While these areas will always be a focus in the healthcare industry, companies can experience positive impact by examining strategies such as increased collaboration, adopting segment based supply chains and leveraging new innovative models and technologies."