Eighth UPS Pain in the Chain Survey Snapshot (2015)

January 5, 2016 Ken Klaver

About Pain in the Chain

UPS has been surveying the healthcare and life sciences industry about supply chain issues since 2008. We started with a simple intention: understanding our customers’ needs so we could serve them better. Over the years, the survey has become a popular barometer of supply chain issues for the healthcare industry.

The eighth UPS Pain in the Chain survey was conducted by TNS between April and June 2015. A total of 421 interviews of healthcare logistics executives were carried out in 16 countries. Fifteen separate, qualitative interviews were conducted in North America to gain further insights into trends, challenges, and opportunities impacting healthcare logistics. Look for upcoming UPS position papers that will highlight key takeaways from respondents and offer new approaches to turning “pains in the chain” into “gains in the chain.” 


Healthcare and life sciences logistics decision makers are realizing considerable supply chain improvement in key areas such as product security and adapting to regulatory changes. More than half of executives who experienced success in these areas stated they leveraged third- party logistics providers and supply chain analysis to drive their accomplishments.

Products continue to become more complex and in many cases require special handling. Healthcare decision makers are recognizing the importance of selecting higher-quality carriers, faster shipping speed, and in-transit intervention capabilities needed to drive success in mitigating product damage and spoilage.

While healthcare supply chains have made gains, cost management is still a major pain point. In order to address this, healthcare logisticians see the most opportunity in optimizing their transportation costs and gaining better inventory visibility. Meanwhile, even as unplanned events have impacted healthcare supply chains over the past several years, a large percentage of supply chain decision makers still do not consider contingency planning important.

One constant remains: As more innovative, sophisticated products enter the global market, the stakes will only get higher for healthcare companies to ensure growing consumer demands are met with innovative, sophisticated supply chains. 


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