Ensuring the Integrity of Medical Devices in Transit with a 3PL Partner
WHAT ARE LOGISTICS SOLUTIONS IN HEALTHCARE?
Modern medicine requires modern solutions like medical devices, supplies, and medications, and healthcare logistics solutions support the movement of those goods through the supply chain. While the logistics processes involved in pharmaceutical and medical device logistics aren’t so different from other industries, there’s little room for error in medical logistics.
WHAT ARE KEY CHALLENGES ASSOCIATED WITH ENSURING THE INTEGRITY OF MEDICAL DEVICES IN TRANSIT?
What makes medical device logistics more difficult than typical fulfilment services, inventory management, and shipping? Here are some of the challenges that come along with healthcare logistics.
- Medical supplies must often be delivered with very little turnaround time: Imagine a life-saving surgery needs to be done almost immediately, and the surgeon needs a very specific device that’s not currently available in the hospital’s inventory. That device would have to be delivered post-haste.
- Medical inventories are complicated: When it comes to medical devices and other healthcare products, there are tons of different products and sizes that may be spread out at distribution points across the country. Gaining visibility over these complex inventories and coordinating the logistics to get them where they need to go can be very complicated.
- It requires fine-tuned logistics services: In medical logistics, the details matter. For example, shipments must arrive on time and contain exactly the right products in the right sizes. They must often be kept at very specific temperatures, even more so than the average cold chain shipments, and both the recipient and the shipper must know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the product stayed at the right temperature.
- The complex and urgent nature of medical logistics makes it expensive: Because the details are important and time is of the essence, medical logistics can be very costly. Healthcare companies often struggle to keep these costs down since they can’t sacrifice the quality or speed of their logistics processes, especially if they want to compete in a market where many healthcare suppliers differentiate themselves with their top-notch logistics networks.
- Regulatory Compliance: Medical Devices and Pharmaceuticals exist within a complex regulatory environment. This demands that critical functions within supply chain logistics are compliant.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO PARTNER WITH A 3PL HEALTHCARE LOGISTICS PROVIDER THAT SPECIALISES IN MEDICAL DEVICES?
Remember the supply chain issues that plagued us during the pandemic, making it almost impossible to find something as simple as toilet paper? Imagine what might happen if those logistics challenges were being imposed on medical devices, pharmaceuticals, and other medical supplies.
The availability of appropriate healthcare products can be a life-or-death situation.
A medical device 3PL understands the critical nature and nuances of medical logistics. They already have systems in place to ensure not only regulatory compliance but also the safety and efficacy of the products once they reach their destination.
WHAT SPECIFIC MEASURES SHOULD A 3PL PROVIDER TAKE TO ENSURE THE SECURITY AND SAFETY OF MEDICAL DEVICES DURING TRANSIT?
Medical device 3PL providers can ensure the security and safety of medical devices during transit in a variety of ways.
The best-in-class providers are able to provide end-to-end visibility and control. This involves stellar inventory management, real-time tracking technologies, and real-time customer-facing dashboards so shippers and receivers know right where every product is at any given time (and can know that it’s being stored in a medical supply warehouse and/or shipped appropriately).
Next, 3PLs can leverage their supply chain networks to provide consistent service and add resiliency to their customers’ logistics operations. This could mean locking down a network of shipping partners that are equipped to move medical supplies from place to place, or helping customers build out their supplier networks to ensure timely and accurate order fulfilment.
Lastly, 3PLs can help their medical customers ensure a smooth and timely reverse logistics process. Returns come with the territory for most companies, but when it comes to medical devices, they’re a large part of operations. Several sizes of the same product may be ordered for a single surgery while only one is used, which means the others must be sterilised and returned to inventory. This requires special equipment and expertise.
WHAT ARE SOME COMMON RISKS MEDICAL DEVICE SHIPMENTS FACE DURING TRANSIT AND HOW CAN THEY BE MITIGATED?
Here are some common risks associated with medical device shipment:
- Theft of high-value shipments
- Regulatory non-compliance
- Cold-chain shipping issues
These risks can be mitigated through many methods, including:
- Careful carrier vetting
- Smart Routing to reduce high-risk handling
- Detailed carrier and driver training
- Inspection of equipment and cold chain technologies to ensure appropriate temperatures are maintained at all times
HOW CAN A 3PL PROVIDER HELP ENSURE COMPLIANCE WITH REGULATORY REQUIREMENTS FOR THE TRANSPORT OF MEDICAL DEVICES?
3PLs can help companies, beginning with healthcare fulfilment services and ending with reverse logistics, to abide by regulatory requirements while ensuring they can provide their customers with great service. They can do this in several ways, including:
- Compliance: A qualified 3PL can help companies keep up with the latest regulations to ensure each shipment is compliant, helping obtain permits and documentation.
- Regulatory expertise: Regulations are constantly in flux, and a 3PL can help keep track of them to ensure their customers stay compliant.
- Flexibility and scalability: The healthcare industry is complex, and a 3PL can help stay on the cutting edge of compliance to keep the supply chain flowing, even when the business scope or scale is changing rapidly.
- Remove obstacles that stand in the way of excellence: In the healthcare industry, small missteps can lead to massive problems, so 3PLs ensure precision logistics.
HOW CAN A 3PL PROVIDER BE USED TO REDUCE A HEALTHCARE COMPANY’S LOGISTICS COSTS?
By leveraging leading-edge technology, healthcare logistics expertise, and extensive logistics networks, 3PLs can help companies cut back on their logistics costs while maintaining an excellent level of service to their customers. 3PLs also offer access to top-quality and more affordable packaging materials and workforces full of seasoned healthcare supply chain veterans.
CONTACT SEKO LOGISTICS FOR A QUOTE TODAY
Is your company hunting for medical device 3PL services? The team at SEKO is ready to answer any questions you may have and provide top-notch, customised healthcare supply chain solutions. Reach out to us here.
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