From a future global business challenge standpoint, increasing regulations are the top concern, as reported by 48 percent of respondents. Concerns over healthcare reform and legislation closely follow at 46 percent, and 40 percent of executives worldwide are also worried about intellectual property protection. Executives in Asia are more worried than their peers about increasing competition at 51 percent and patent expirations at 41 percent.“Healthcare companies are balancing a number of priorities related to capturing business growth opportunities in new markets, protecting increasingly sophisticated and high-value products and navigating a complex regulatory environment worldwide,” said Bill Hook, vice president, global strategy, UPS Healthcare Logistics. “These trends have also been shaping UPS’s solutions to ensure we remain the logistics provider of choice for the healthcare industry. As the industry shifts to meet new customer and market demands, executives are investing in transformative supply chain strategies and strategic partnerships that will help them achieve long-term business goals.” Regulations and cost top concerns for executives in North America The supply chain concerns keeping North American executives up at night relate to regulations and cost management. Sixty percent cite cost management as a top supply chain concern, a higher percentage than their peers around the world. Regulatory compliance is also a top concern for 66 percent of logistics executives in North America, and is the top barrier to global expansion for North American healthcare executives. Despite the high level of concern, executives there are successfully addressing issues there in a variety of ways, ranging from performing supply chain optimization analyses to investing in logistics partnerships. Top global supply chain pain points The number one supply chain concern globally continues to be regulatory compliance, cited by 63 percent as a challenge. Navigating country regulations are also the top barrier to global expansion, cited by 47 percent of those surveyed. As noted above, product security is the number two supply chain concern, followed by cost management, with 53 percent and 51 percent of executives respectively citing these as issues.
Noteworthy regional differences also surfaced:
- Asia: Product protection is a significant concern with 76 percent of executives surveyed naming product security as their number one supply chain concern. Product damage and spoilage is also a larger issue in Asia versus other areas of the world, with 67 percent calling this a top supply chain concern.
- Western Europe: The economic downturn continues to be top of mind, with nearly half in the region reporting continued impacts for their companies (significantly higher than in 2012). Despite economic challenges, healthcare executives are still planning supply chain investments in technology and new distribution models, underscoring the global focus on preparing for further transformation in the healthcare industry.