When medical device suppliers and manufacturers maintain their own distribution centers and vehicle fleets, these assets are not always used to their fullest. The distribution center might have areas that are vacant, or the trucks might be delivering less than truckloads (LTLs). That unused capacity adds costs to the healthcare system.

Cardinal Health Integrated Logistics Services (ILS) was set up as a separate business unit by Cardinal Health Inc. in 2011 to eliminate those costs by acting as a third-party logistics (3PL) provider. Instead of maintaining their own warehouses and trucking fleets – or paying high prices for shipping LTLs with trucking companies – medical device suppliers and manufacturers can reduce their shipping and warehousing expenses by using the 3PL services of Cardinal Health Integrated Logistics Services.

Cardinal Health Inc. provides pharmaceuticals and medical products and services to more than 100,000 locations each day, and also is a direct-to-home medical supplies distributor. Additionally, the company manufactures medical and surgical products, including gloves, surgical apparel and fluid management products. It also operates the nation’s largest network of pharmacies that dispense radioactive pharmaceuticals to aid in the early diagnosis and treatment of disease.

The March 11, 2010, earthquake and tsunami in Japan lasted less than 10 minutes, but its impact was felt for months, if not years, afterward. One of the disaster’s most widely reported aftereffects was the meltdown of three of the six nuclear reactors at the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant, which resulted in a mass evacuation and cleanup effort.

 CANBERRA, a leading manufacturer of radiation detectors and nuclear measurement equipment, was front and center during most of these efforts. “We’re proud of our response to that incident and the role we had in safeguarding the people of Japan,” says Joseph Nuzzi, executive director, global supply chain, CANBERRA. The company is a subsidiary of AREVA, a multibillion dollar publicly traded power generation solutions company based in France. 

Manufacturers’ responsibilities today extend far beyond simple product production. With supply chain globalization and continued business growth evolving in the industry, it is critical that manufacturers have a comprehensive view into the entire chain to reliably track each product all the way to its final end-point. Furthermore, to ensure a competitive edge into the future, manufacturers must move beyond the scope of the supply chain as it is now, identify forthcoming trends and obstacles, and understand their roCurrently, global trade regulations require manufacturers to understand country-specific rules and regulations that include ensuring products have appropriate licenses, and paperwork filed with the appropriate governments agencies. Automated and integrated trade solutions provide a seamless method for tracking product lifecycles as products are shipped to different locations and also demonstrating a comprehensive history of the product at each moment throughout the chain. Having the technology to track the product closely and without time lapses allows manufacturers to see a product’s journey in its entirety from product production to customer delivery, which is essential for compliance.

Today, many distribution centers rely on outdated methods to capture data and monitor operations. In many cases, pencils, clipboards and punch cards are still the tools of the trade, as operators are required to record and input information manually. In today’s competitive environment, these antiquated methods are no longer sufficient to keep track of the supply chain and operate an efficient distribution center. With modern wireless technology, it’s possible for operators to maintain complete end-to-end awareness of the supply chain, and use automation to increase efficiency and reduce costs.

The modern supply chain environment is changing rapidly: Shorter lead times. Faster turnaround and response times. More SKUs. Cheaper component sourcing and more effective procurement. Reduced environmental impact from extensive transportation. More regulation and compliance. Perpetual cost management and expense reduction.

There is nothing more annoying than waiting on a delivery. 

If you order something online that you expect to arrive at a certain time, then it can be a huge inconvenience to make sure you are available to receive the delivery. Relatively often, customers find their efforts to be pointless when their parcel arrives late, or even not at all. This can personally affect their schedules and daily routines, because more often than not customers will take the day off work, arrange for a neighbor to take the delivery or even work from home.

Alaska Communications (ACS) faces some unique challenges: extremely long distances between warehouses throughout the state, remote service locations, extreme weather conditions, and multiple customer types. As part of a large network of warehouse locations, ACS has a small warehouse in Juneau that serves all of southeastern Alaska and supports retail operations, counter services for installers, a broad array of wireless and wire line installation services, as well as repair functions that need to be highly responsive to natural events such as winter storms. 

As healthcare organizations nationwide grapple with unprecedented change and growing pressure to deliver higher value at lower costs, the role of the hospital supply chain organization has never been more important – or more promising. 

Even before healthcare reform, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s (UPMC) supply chain division began its journey of embracing new technology and processes to solve critical pain points in this $10 billion health system, with its more than 20 hospitals, 400 outpatient locations and 60,000-plus employees. In this complex environment, UPMC’s supply chain division manages $1.8 billion in annual spend and processes more than 70,000 invoices and 4,000 purchase requisitions monthly from more than 12,000 active suppliers.


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