Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Supply Chain Consulting

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In the medical product, pharmaceutical, and healthcare industry, all segments are approaching the apex of the perfect storm. An assessment of the risks of this storm includes managing profitability and market share with recent and pending patent expirations, increased competitive capabilities from generic and start-up players, and increased regulatory hurdles (approvals, price controls, market entry, etc.).

The healthcare industry and the medical supply chain are evolving to address these multiple pressures and risks, both globally and locally.

Tompkins International understands healthcare market demands and has the expertise and solutions for  pharmaceutical and medical supply chains, and all healthcare-related supply chains.

Tompkins provides results-focused consulting in the areas of global healthcare logistics and supply chain strategy, sales and operations planning, physical distribution, pharma manufacturing support, channel optimization, regulatory compliance, supply chain systems, and organizational excellence.

Lean-Based, Continuous Improvement in Healthcare Supply Chains

The concept of lean-based, continuous improvement traditionally favored in other industries to reduce supply chain costs and improve efficiency is gaining traction across pharmaceutical and healthcare supply to improve margins. Tompkins International has been providing a lean, continuous improvement focus for over three decades. We understand that continuous improvement in the healthcare industry must include both pharma and medical product supply chain control, with cost reduction and efficiency improvements to succeed. Full compliance with regulations like e-pedigree drugs and track & trace, maintaining “safe inventory levels,” and getting product securely to market must be equally balanced with cost savings.

Pharmaceutical and other healthcare companies have always worked to be efficient and to provide unmatched service levels, but service risk factors historically outweighed lean efforts that focused only on cost savings.

Challenges in the Pharmaceutical Industry

There are multiple pressures and areas for risk assessment for the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries, including:

  • Government Intervention:  Price controls and price setting, drug / medical product evaluation and selection, negotiated discounts, selective patent enforcement, and others.
  • Highly Informed Consumers:   Internet-based self-diagnostics on open social networks make keeping information accurate and proactive marketing a critical business focus.
  • Globalization:  Demand for specific regional remedies to address emerging market potential must balance future market size, government policies, and humanitarian benefits. China and Asia present unique supply chain challenges – learn more about Asia supply chain excellence.
  • Evolving Business Model: No single model fits all organizations, and what is in place today may poorly support future demands. Adaptive, flexible, and efficient models must be conceived for tomorrow, starting today.
  • Mergers & Acquisitions:  There will be fewer large companies vying for more consumers globally, but niche start-ups will continue to emerge. How many of these will be integrated into larger companies? How many big organizations will spin-off non-core segments, based on market pressures? Merging supply chains effectively (learn more here) is critical to achieving projected savings, while meeting regulatory and marketplace requirements.
  • Non-traditional Pharma Distribution, Including Online:   Traditional market channels are being challenged. New players and channels including consumer-direct fulfillment may evolve across many markets segments. How this will happen is yet to be defined.
  • Integrated Healthcare Providers:  What is the right mix of products to build an efficient supply chain and profitable market offering? Just because you are spinning off a product today does not mean you will not be acquiring new product lines tomorrow.
  • Supply Chain Security:  Global security initiatives should not be viewed solely from a regulatory perspective, but from a brand integrity and patient safety perspective. The human risks involved with the healthcare industry — particularly pharmaceuticals and medical products — raise the bar in visibility, performance, and operating margins.
  • Internal Versus External Operations:  Evaluating the option of leveraging logistics service providers to focus on core strengths and reduce internal costs is an industry best practice. However, the risks and trade-offs must be fully understood before outsourcing any particular business function (see more about outsourcing here).

Financial savings can be found throughout the supply chain. Internal savings including labor reduction, productivity, space consolidation, inventory optimization, and material use and waste management should be the focus for finding and implementing cost reduction measures.

The industry can better plan its implementation strategy to successfully address challenges as a part of ongoing continuous improvements and upgrades. As a rule, the implementation of supply chain best practices to improve performance and reduce operating cost is critical to profitability.

Tompkins International has over 30 years of experience in pharmaceutical and healthcare consulting, helping companies reduce supply chain costs, improve speed and accuracy, and enhance customer service.


Get a quick look at the powerful impact demand-driven supply chains can bring to your customer satisfaction and operational value in this short video from Jim Tompkins, CEO of Tompkins International, and Greg Brady, CEO of One Network.

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