An environment of “increasing risks, complex regulations and continuing cost pressures” is stopping healthcare executives from moving quickly to seize “untapped industry opportunities” in the supply chain, according to a survey from logistics giant UPS.

The company has published its seventh Pain in the (Supply) Chain report which shows that for the third consecutive year, regulatory compliance is the main concern, cited by 60% of respondents. Some 78% cite regulatory compliance and increasing regulations “as a top trend driving business and supply chain changes”.

The UPS report, which polled 530 healthcare executives, notes that product protection “also is increasingly challenging in a highly global marketplace”. Product security is cited as a top challenge by 46%, while 40% said product damage and spoilage is a top concern.
 
Nearly half (49%) of those surveyed say they are still feeling an impact from the economic downturn six years later yet “despite operating in a risk-inherent environment”, only 26% cite contingency planning as a top supply chain concern.

Meanwhile, 34% of those surveyed in Asia and 22% in Latin America say that more than one-quarter of their companies’ supply chains were impacted by unplanned events in the past three to five years.  

The survey goes on to state that over the past two years, 70% or more of those polled both years have indicated that they plan to increase their usage of new distribution channels, “yet over this same time period their channel mix remains nearly identical. This demonstrates that while the intention to take advantage of untapped opportunities is apparent, actual change is slow”.

UPS notes that 21% of survey respondents cite the shift to home healthcare as a key trend driving business and supply chain changes, while another area with untapped potential is collaborative partnerships. Also, 78% said they will expand to new global markets over the next three to five years.