Global Health Care Execs Report Supply Chain Pains

Health care legislation and reform is the number one business concern for health care executives globally, according to a survey by UPS. This concern has risen among U.S. companies from 55% in 2010 to 60% this year. The number was slightly smaller globally, with 52% of respondents citing reform/legislation.

The 2011 “Pain in the (Supply) Chain” survey was the first time it was global and the results revealed some regional differences between U.S., Asia and Europe. Health care companies in Asia are more aggressively pursuing global expansion. Three-fourths of executives said they expanded into new global markets to increase their competitiveness compared to only 58% in the U.S.

Asian companies are also more concerned about intellectual property protection with half mentioning it and only a third of European companies being concerned. This isn’t entirely surprising given China’s notorious infringement of copyrights, patents and trade secrets.

Globally, health care executives are focused on investing in their supply chains to increase their competitiveness. The most popular way to do this is with new technologies. Over the next three to five years 86% of respondents plan to invest in technology.

“Change is the only constant in healthcare today and it is happening on a global scale, driven by factors such as cost, regulatory pressures and global expansion,” said Bill Hook, vice president, global strategy, UPS Healthcare Logistics, in a statement. “Going forward, companies have to find new ways to innovate and adapt to rapid market changes and this is where the supply chain plays a pivotal role. UPS helps healthcare companies leverage logistics to do things such as expand into new markets faster, implement greater supply chain efficiencies and improve the customer experience, leading to competitive advantages.”

U.S. companies seem to be getting better about the issue of supply chain cost management. In 2011, 53% reported success in this area, up from 44% in 2010. However, globally this seems to be more of an issue, which only 42% of the total respondents reporting success.