Proper supply chain technology crucial for business success

June 27 2013

For many people, when they think about a company's supply chain, they only think about the process in which products or materials get from one place to the other. However, a proper supply chain management system includes a number of other solutions, technologies and outsourced procedures that are not only needed to improve operations but required to fix any problems that arise in the course of doing business.

A recent CIO article examined how outdated technology is starting to threaten public safety. Now before you go running to hills, allow me to explain. The article uses the example of the 2006 E. coli bacteria scare in which contaminated spinach caused a number of people to be hospitalized. The FBI investigated and served warrants but were not able to find the ultimate cause because the supply chain data was incomplete.

After 205 people in 25 states were hospitalized and three passed away, a nationwide recall was started on a particular brand of bagged spinach. The ultimate cause of the contamination has still not been uncovered.

The supply chain becomes a 'tangled web'

An unfortunate fact is that data sharing is not where it needs to be between companies, government agencies or the public. This can happen because of unstandardized product codes, systems that are not compatible or a number of other issues. This is also means that these issues need to be corrected before proper security measures can be put in place.

"As products move between origination, sorting, shipping, re-sorting and repacking before the consumer ever sees them, the traditional supply chain becomes a tangled supply web," the article reads. "In the drug world, companies can exchange some data, but competitive strategy deters them from showing anyone too much information about manufacturing plans or problems."

Technology can improve logistics and transparency

The healthcare industry is one area that must keep a close eye on its supply chain. Drug shortages can cause concern for doctors and threaten the well being of patients that need certain medications to get by. Between 2010 and 2011, there were 429 different drug shortages. This caused the passage of federal legislation requiring the pharmaceutical industry to notify the FDA of potential shortages of particular drugs.

The article features an interview with Andy Keller, a VP of inventory management at Cardinal Health, which delivers 50,000 different types of drugs and about one-third of all medications in the U.S. He mentioned that many providers have started using more advanced analytic and software solutions to improve their logistics and data sharing.

"Some of our suppliers are more advanced than others when it comes to providing accurate, timely information about manufacturing and other product availability issues," Keller says. "We are committed to working closely with our suppliers to enhance collaboration and communication."

Not every business has the resources to invest in the latest logistics and supply chain software and technology. This is where outsourcing part of the supply chain to a third party service that has access to these solutions can become a valuable strategy. From handling the shipping and warehousing of healthcare supplies to sending a letter across the state of Ohio, an experienced business courier service can help any company succeed.

Medical industry moves innovation from R&D to the supply chain

June 27 2013

When it comes to the pharmaceutical industry, the idea of competition via innovation has been a widespread adopted concept. Traditionally this means pharma businesses are pouring money into the research and development hoping to come up with the next great drug.

According to a recent Xconomy column by Noubar Afeyan, this approach is starting to lose its effectiveness. Several companies like Pfizer and Sanofi have cut their R&D budgets in recent months and are causing a major shakeup in the industry.

But there is a good reason for this. A study by Oliver Wyman found that the value generated from every dollar invested in medical R&D has dropped by over 70 percent. On top of that from 1996 through 2004, drug companies produced $275 million in five-year sales for every $1 billion spent on R&D. From 2005 through 2010 that number has dropped by $200 million.

Because of this, phrama businesses need to start looking at other ways to innovate and one of the top ways is through the supply chain.

"The concept of an innovation supply chain aims to capture the diverse participants and organizational linkages involved in the ultimate delivery of an innovation's value to its end customer," Afeyan wrote. "Ultimately, we can imagine innovation supply chain managers focused on the cost, efficiency of supply, predictability, flow of information and other resources, optimal linkages, incentives, and many other means to maximize realized value."

With the help of a business supply chain partner that is experienced in the medical industry, any company can change the way they ship and optimize the solution.

More companies turning toward outsourcing logistic solutions

June 26 2013

The decision to outsource a particular aspect of a business has been done by countless companies for centuries. The idea just makes sense, partner with another business that is an expert in a particular field to improve your overall products. This can be done for just about any reason, from creating a special microchip for a computer to shipping a package across Ohio.

A recent Real Business article looked at the expanding role of small market enterprises in the supply chain. As logistics and shipping become an increasingly important part of companies, especially as technology helps the world shrink, more companies are finding themselves in need of a quality third party partner to help make sure their packages are getting from point A to point B safely.

"Contracting out a key part of business processes means that these arrangements by definition often go to the very heart of that business because clients and providers need to be deeply entwined for it to work," the article reads. "If problems arise, the practicalities of unraveling the arrangement can threaten to harm the business itself."

Shipping is a part of business that every company needs to deal with. Even if it is nothing more than sending a letter across the city, if that parcel fails to get to its destination, it can be disastrous for the company. That is why a third party business courier service can be a smart investment. After all, everyone hates when something important gets lost in the mail.

Small business tax cuts hinge on budget approval

June 25 2013

The small business community in Ohio is waiting with bated breath for the outcome of a vote that would create tax cuts across the board for small businesses and personal income taxes. This is part of a newly proposed budget that would implement a 50 percent income tax deduction for small business income that would allow owners to deduct half of the first $750,000 in income for their companies.

According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Ohio Governor John Kasich recently spoke at the NFIB Ohio Small Businesses Day activities in the Statehouse and urged small businesses owners to push for his budget to be approved, which must be done by June 30.

"We got another week or 10 days to go. We are fighting like the dickens to make sure that pass through entities and S corps are going to get a very significant tax cut to help you big time," Kasich told the crowd. "I want you to have it for two reasons: First, I want you to invest in your businesses and, second, I want you to hire people. It's not any more complicated than that."

Kasich also spoke about the pitch to expand Medicaid in Ohio. He said it is important for those who need coverage as well as businesses and the state, which are looking to gain a benefit from residents' federal tax dollars.

With small business on the docket, many companies in Ohio could see a change coming soon. In the meantime, organizations should continue to make smart business decisions like partnering with a local business courier service.

Risk vs. cost a growing concern for the supply chain

June 24 2013

In every business solution, safety is the name of the game. If there is business courier solution that gets every package delivered the next day, with no exceptions, but only half of them arrive with their contents intact, how good is that service? Even if you are just sending a parcel from one side of Ohio to the other, the risk far outweighs the reward in this situation.

According to a recent article from Materials Handling World Magazine, negative feelings about the supply chain is a growing trend. A survey from Deloitte mentioned that 48 percent of retail and manufacturing executives claim that the frequency of risk events in supply chain management that have had negative outcomes has increased over the last three years. On top of that, 53 percent believe that the costs associated with these incidents have also increased.

Many companies have switched away from local courier services for larger ones, but the results have been the opposite when it comes to the risk vs. cost management questions.

"Spending money on risk management can save money further down the line, on costly logistics lead times for example," the article reads. "Many companies switch from local trusted suppliers to lower cost suppliers often situated further away, and out of sight. This saves them money in the short run, but it increases potential points of failure in the supply chain, and overall supply chain risk as a result."

By using an experienced local courier service, companies can rest assured that they are using both a cost friendly and low risk solution to handle all of their shipping needs.