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When most people think about the places that are important to healthcare, the warehouse might not be the first thing that comes to mind – but the role they fill in the healthcare industry can’t be overstated.

Warehouses, in many ways, are the backbone of the healthcare supply chain. Few industries need the sort of prompt delivery and safe handling of products that the healthcare industry does, and warehouses are a critical part of ensuring this safe, timely delivery.

Accordingly, the performance of a given warehouse can have a massive ripple effect across the entire healthcare supply chain. If your warehouse is performing well, the rest of the supply chain can do its job, but if your warehouse runs into an issue, the entire logistics path can be affected

If your warehouse serves the healthcare industry and you’d like to know how you can better function within the entire supply chain, here’s a few of our tips and observations:


Optimizing Your Warehouse For The Healthcare Supply Chain


Work with your clinicians

While a lot of people scoff at the phrase “the customer is always right”, there is still a nugget of truth to it (if only at times).

When it comes to the healthcare supply chain, the final destination – your clinicians – should be a point of reference for nearly any decision you make. Engage with them directly to find out what items they need the most, and use their feedback to identify any particular pain points along the way. Is a certain item or supplier constantly late, or out of stock? Could something be communicated more clearly? Are there items they need that just aren’t available from their usual sources? By understanding these needs more clearly, you can serve the entire supply chain more effectively.


Healthcare-focused demand forecasting

Sure, every warehouse practices demand forecasting to a degree (or at least they should), but the needs of healthcare demand forecasting can differ in many important ways.

Perhaps more so than a lot of other businesses, healthcare demands tend to be greatly seasonal. You’re not going to encounter a lot of demand for flu medication in the peak of summer, for example, and knowing how to scale-up or -down your ordering is going to be crucial for meeting the demand of different peak illnesses. 

Luckily, this isn’t done much differently from non-healthcare demand forecasting – but it does require a lot of legacy information on your part, and careful study to see which items peaked and when. 


Warehouse optimization

Many warehouses already needed to implement these optimizations during the peak of the pandemic in 2020, but a well-optimized warehouse layout and location can go a long way towards helping you work with healthcare providers.

Make sure you offer enough medical shelving, antimicrobial shelving, and walk in cooler shelving to keep even the most delicate medical goods safe, and improve the amount of product you can stock for health providers. 

Try to focus on working with healthcare providers in a reasonable geographical location, as well. The demand for fast shipment of needed medical supplies is only going to grow over time, and focusing on an area where you can easily – and quickly – meet this demand will be critical.

While these are some of the biggest changes you can make to help work with healthcare providers, the most important thing will be to stay flexible. The faster you can respond to a new request or challenge from anywhere along the medical supply chain, the more valued a partner you can be.


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