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LogiMed 2024: Promoting End-to End Supply Chain Collaboration and Digitalization

LogiMed 2024, held March 25-27 in Palm Springs, California, brought together medical device supply chain leaders and hospital systems to discuss the latest trends, challenges, and opportunities across the life sciences, medical device, supply chain, and distribution industries – including how to promote greater end-to-end supply chain collaboration and digitalization.

This year’s focus was on “Bringing Together the Entire End-to-End Healthcare Supply Chain,” with many of the speakers and panelists highlighting the value of collaboration, digitalization, and data transparency up and down the supply chain, from manufacturers to suppliers to healthcare providers.

Clarkston’s Stacey Erickson also moderated three panels at LogiMed 2024: “Supply Chain Resiliency,” “Developing Women in Supply Chain,” and “Accelerating Supply Chain Digitalization.” Each panel covered top trends, recent challenges, and strategic initiatives, as well as what companies are doing to move the needle around these key initiatives. Below, our experts share some of their key themes and takeaways from LogiMed 2024:

Key Themes and Takeaways from LogiMed 2024

#1: Collaboration Across Industry Partners is More Important Than Ever Before

A focus on partnerships and collaboration across the entire supply chain – from medical device manufacturers to their suppliers to healthcare providers – was a key focus for this year’s conference. Resilience remains a top priority for many supply chains, and to achieve that true resiliency, all stakeholders up and down the supply chain need to have quick access to the correct data, enabling partners to respond swiftly and efficiently to correct any issues.In this industry, bad news does not age well. The provider community was clear that having failure node information quickly can save patient lives. Device Manufacturing and Healthcare Provider partnerships are a way to ensure greater resiliency and alignment, such as the case with Johnson & Johnson and the Mayo Clinic, who have been working together to solve supply and inventory challenges through greater end-to-end data transparency. “It takes a lot of work,” said David Marcelletti, Supply Chain Operations Leader at Mayo Clinic. However, he shares it’s paying off dividends for their internal efficiencies. The challenge now is how to scale a program such as this with multiple partners.

Companies also spoke about building collaborative relationships by establishing Advisory Boards. The boards can bring together tier 1 suppliers, device manufacturers, and healthcare providers to strengthen relationships among organizations and build a foundation for more effective, patient-centered care. Supplier diversification programs can also serve as effective partnerships that both create a positive impact on the community and promote greater collaboration across the supply chain, ultimately helping to improve resilience and responsiveness to externalities that companies have limited control over.

As organizations establish deeper end-to-end partnerships, it’s also equally important to make sure priorities across the supply chain have been identified and communicated. This will work to establish and maintain engagement and trust, ensuring continuity of supply and encouraging more proactive communication for any challenges or supply shortages.

#2: Solving the Supply Chain Talent Shortage: Investing in Your People

The supply chain continues to face a severe shortage of talent at a time when the demands on the profession have never been greater. At LogiMed, it was shared that for every 12 positions, there’s only one skilled supply chain professional to fill it. Knowing that people remain the foundation behind every supply chain process and practice, it’s essential that organizations invest the time and resources into supply chain talent. Building digital dexterity in our people, the skills and competency behind digital solutions and AI algorithms, stood out as an area of investment for the future. 

An example that organizations can look to is Cook Medical and BJC HealthCare, who partnered up to create an innovative Supply Chain Fellowship Program, leveraging their resources to help develop and train supply chain professionals of the future.Supply chain leaders should also be mindful of the skills and values they’re promoting and demonstrating to their employees, including if they’re serving as mentors for younger professionals. Honesty and integrity are two core leadership traits that employees want to see from their employers, followed closely by clear and transparent communication. Further, there remains an increased emphasis on recruiting and retaining women in the supply chain, from entry-level professionals to leaders; according to a recent Gartner study, currently, only 26% of supply chain leaders are women. In a particularly competitive and scarce talent landscape, organizations must continue to support and advocate for women in the supply chain.

#3: Digitalization is Critical for Accelerating the Supply Chain

Digitalization remains a critical tool for accelerating supply chain processes, but in order to find success in this space, organizations must first build a comprehensive strategy roadmap to serve as their foundation. The key pillars for this foundation should focus on the Why, What, and How behind the initiatives, in addition to assessing the digitalization’s impact on the organization as a whole (taking organizational change management into consideration).

While digitalization can help to enhance resiliency, efficiency, and agility for your supply chain, it’s important to recognize that it may not always yield full-time equivalent (FTE) reduction or tangible return on investment (ROI) — rather, it’s just the cost of doing business in the digital era.This discussion also brings in the topic of Artificial Intelligence (AI) — while offering great opportunity to streamline tasks, AI can also become a black box.  Take AI for demand forecasting, for example. The demand planner still has to be able to explain the algorithms to ensure accuracy from any AI suggestions. This allows the demand planners to focus more on higher value activities, such as insight generation and data-driven decision making, over processing and data prep.  This should also further drive the point that people and data are equally as crucial to your digital ecosystem; both human expertise and accurate data insights must also be incorporated into your digitalized supply chain operations in order to realize the greatest ROI. 

Looking Ahead: End-to-End Supply Chain Collaboration

For life sciences and medical device professionals across the life sciences, building a more collaborative, resilient, and digital supply chain will remain a key priority moving in to 2024 and beyond. If your organization is looking for guidance on your supply chain strategy, reach out to our team today.

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Tags: Event Recap, Digital Supply Chain