Manufacturers can take specific steps to improve the resilience of the health care supply chain, the NAM’s latest health care study found.
What’s going on: The study—conducted by the Manufacturing Policy Initiative at Indiana University—analyzes data from the COVID-19 pandemic, when manufacturers in the U.S. had to produce large quantities of critical health care equipment under difficult, fast-evolving conditions.
Building resilience: The study found that to prepare the supply chain for a future disruption of similar magnitude, manufacturers should focus on seven areas:
- Speed: Manufacturers must be able to satisfy demand quickly.
- Information: Manufacturers require timely access to accurate information.
- Cost: Firms face the costs of taking action within the supply chain, as well as the costs of managing market unpredictability and policy environment uncertainty.
- Networks: Partnerships can support information sharing and networks to help manufacturers navigate the disruption.
- Size: Supply chain challenges can look different for small, medium-sized and new manufacturers than for larger, established firms.
- Technology: Tech can help manufacturers increase production, improve efficiency and speed up innovation.
- Flexibility: Responses can come from unexpected sources and need a flexible policy environment.
The NAM says: “Policymakers should utilize these lessons to bolster our supply chain for the next disruption,” NAM Chief Economist Chad Moutray said. “This analysis … reveals that there are key policy actions needed to strengthen the manufacturing supply chain. Research shows a more balanced regulatory agenda, with an emphasis on clarity, predictability and coordination, will help mitigate the effects of the next disruption.”