The importance of logistics to the health industry

With combined expenditure exceeding $4.5 trillion, the global medicalindustry, comprising of numerous sectors including manufacture of medical equipment, drugs, institutions offering healthcare services, biotechnology firms, and production of medical supplies, is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world today. At a time when the industry is enjoying newer opportunities due to globalization along with newer commercial and regulatory challenges, an efficient logistics chain, which accounts for a significant proportion of the total costs, can significantly contribute to the industry’s profitability and brand credibility.

Elements of the modern healthcare industry logistics chain

Logistics solutions for the health care industry require specialized transport facilities. From transporting drugs all over the world to supplying healthcare equipment and supplies to institutions located all over the world—firms are required to consider regulatory, safety, audit, and commercial factors at all times. While use of RFID tags to keep track of every single consignment being transported may seem like overkill for any other industry, it is a minimum requirement for manufacturers of drugs and medical equipment.

Unlike other products where improper transportation or handling may result in a financial loss, non-compliance of safety procedures during transportation of pharmaceutical products or medical equipment can have potentially fatal consequences. The logistics chain is required to comply with detailed safety procedures governing each and every aspect of the journey from the manufacturing plant to the consumer’s home or institution.

Since all drugs have an expiry period, every additional day or hour lost in transit represents a lost opportunity for the manufacturer. Delayed delivery of medicines, supplies, or equipment can, in the case of the healthcare industry, truly make all the difference between life and death. Yet, safety norms cannot be violated to ensure speedy delivery. The logistics chain must be designed to transport equipment, supplies, and products in the shortest and safest manner possible at the lowest cost.

A unique characteristic of the healthcare industry is the importance of reverse logistics. While most industries focus on delivering products from the manufacturer to the end user, the healthcare industry must also provide for return of expired or unsuitable equipment, medicines, and suppliers back to the manufacturer. Again, there must be a clear and verifiable trail for the entire journey. This requires versatile supply chain management that is designed to ensure proper disposal of drugs.

For used hospital supplies, institutions require effective, safe, and efficient transportation solutions that ensure proper and timely disposal of potentially-dangerous waste as mandated by applicable rules and regulations.

With so many disparate factors involved, it is very important for the healthcare firm or service provider to choose the right logistics service provider. Clarence Gooden is affiliated with CSX, a company offering specialized logistics services to businesses across the United States and Canada. Instead of blindly relying on commercial websites filled with advertising and marketing jargon, you could learn more about the various facets and aspects of the logistics industry by checking out resources like Clarence Gooden blogs.


Proper supply chain management can, in the long run, prove to be a significant game changer for a firm or business seeking to exploit newer opportunities in the globalized economy. Transporting healthcare products and services all over the world can, apart from the obvious commercial benefits, have a transformation impact on societies that are struggling to enjoy the economic and social benefits of access to improved healthcare services, drugs, and treatments.