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March 20, 2018

Ecommerce giant Amazon will fly a warehouse stocked with lots of products at an altitude of around 45,000 feet that would act as a launch pad for drones, with an aim to deliver consignments in a jiffy. When a customer places an order, a drone or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) will fly down from such an airborne fulfilment space. This would enable overnight ground delivery to nearly anyone in the US. This delights online merchants who are looking for new and speedy ways to reach customers. Such developments clearly indicate the direction that innovative supply chain systems are headed in.

The story is no different for the health sector where companies are creating innovative offerings within their supply chain delivery systems.

Effective distribution and just-in-time fulfilment capabilities are critical factors in the delivery of the drugs and medical devices. Not only life expectancy, but also drug discoveries and innovations in drug delivery systems have made it easier for patients to comply with their medication regimes. While this upward curve is set to continue in the years ahead, it is also a reality that customer expectations are changing rapidly. This is partly because of changes in technology and also because of growing patient advocacy and knowledge.

As a result, forward-looking organizations are already investing in a range of innovations including sophisticated predictive analytics, rich content visualizations, mobile technologies, and the Internet of Things to create competitive advantage. They are reinventing storage space capacity and time efficiencies to achieve the competitive edge.

An era of digital healthcare is exploding before our eyes. Its impact can be seismic. If companies across the value chain apply these technologies effectively they will find efficiencies in their supply chains and uncover new ways to meet the needs of medical institutions and their patients. Read my whitepaper Fulfilment Competency is a Life Science Game Changer to gain a detailed understanding of some of the operations and warehouse management challenges that companies are grappling with in their attempts to meet diverse customer needs. It also discusses certain best of breed strategies that you can adopt for slick implementation of operations.

In a digital era, we have the opportunity to amplify the improved healthcare outcomes we have seen in the past couple of decades in the way that the mass production and application of penicillin, transformed doctors’ ability to cure diseases in the middle of the last century. Interesting developments are taking place in this current age of start-ups, innovation and digitization. Making efforts to seize the opportunity will not only earn businesses goodwill, but also give them a serious competitive edge.

TK has over 25 years of experience helping Fortune 500 companies drive supply chain transformation, and is a Director in the Consulting and Systems Integration Practice at Tata Consultancy Service (TCS). He has advised a number of companies in consumer, life sciences, high tech, and utilities industries on supply chain strategy and enterprise transformation programs, with focus on the roadmap for business process transformation and standardization of business processes with measured business benefits. He has an MBA in Operations Management (Georgia State University, Atlanta), MS in Project Engineering and BS in Chemical Engineering (BITS, Pilani, India).


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