UPS Eyes Field Inventory For Critical Medical Devices

June 8, 2018

When patient care is critical, time is of the essence. That’s why UPS has developed a new field inventory technology to help ensure that surgical kits and implantable medical devices arrive where they need to be, when they need to be there.

The integrated solution – a collaboration with WebOps, a medical device logistics and analytics technology provider, and Baxter Planning, an inventory planning and optimization solutions provider – helps medical device manufacturers optimize their supply chain amid stricter standards for patient safety. Specifically, the WebOps application enables precise tracking of surgery schedules, physician preferences, inventory availability and movement of surgical kits and implants. Surgeons and hospitals, device and instrument manufacturers, and distributors can also communicate about implant usage, product needs and consumption. Baxter Planning's solution provides unified inventory planning for the consigned inventory across hospitals and forward stocking locations to simultaneously improve order fulfillment and productivity while helping to reduce inventory and transportation costs.

The majority of medical device inventory lies outside a manufacturer’s direct control, vacillating between field representatives and hospitals. This limited visibility can result in redundant inventories within local markets and increased inventory carry costs and can leave field sales representatives managing logistics instead of supporting surgeons. With increasing requirements in the industry, manufacturers need better control over their field inventory.

UPS currently operates a network of both healthcare field stocking locations and distribution centers serving manufacturers and distributors of medical devices. The additional platforms provide cloud-based capabilities to help optimize field inventory through enhanced planning, visibility, streamlined logistics and focused “final-mile” services. The integration of the platforms with UPS warehouse and transportation systems creates a comprehensive inventory workload planning and visibility tool.

The resulting solution centralizes inventory for better control and visibility and can help you to maintain product integrity, reduce inventory, enhance sales force and customer service effectiveness, and improve field resource and asset utilization. Manufacturers can achieve 20-50% reduction in inventory and 10-30% reduction in expedited order requests. Also, UPS’s current U.S. network of healthcare compliant facilities means that critical shipments can be delivered to 80% of hospital beds and surgery centers within four hours.

“Medical device manufacturers require specialized services and solutions to solve problems that help to improve patient care,” said David O’Leary, vice president of operations, UPS global logistics and distribution. “We are now leveraging these core strengths to bring solutions to the implantable medical device industry that offer better visibility and quality, reduced inventory and lower supply chain costs.”

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