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Healthcare

The Top Strategies for Managing Healthcare Warehousing and Logistics

Steve Schlecht
Written by
Steve Schlecht
Published on
June 7, 2024
Warehouse for Health and Medical Products

In our experience, healthcare warehousing can be one of the most nuanced types of operations within warehousing and logistics to manage. Based on our experience with highly regulated environments, here are the top strategies for managing healthcare warehousing and logistics.

Why Effective Healthcare Warehousing Matters

The healthcare logistics and warehousing industry according to a study by Grand View Research, is expected to reach $ 368.2 billion by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 7.6% from 2023 to 2030. As our population gets older there’s becoming more of a reliance on quality care. 

Effectively managing healthcare warehousing involves much more than just overseeing logistics. It has the potential to adversely affect the health of end customers.

Having a key warehousing standard in place is very important when it comes to securely storing and fulfilling essential medical supplies and pharmaceutical products. This includes storing products in the proper environment and making sure they are shipped on time to customers. 

What are the top requirements for a good healthcare warehouse

  • Temperature Sensitivity: A lot of medical products and pharmaceuticals need to be kept at specific temperatures in order to work effectively. For example, according to the World Health Organization, around 25% of vaccines are damaged during transportation because of inadequate temperature control.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Adhering to health regulations and standards is non-negotiable and can be complex. Many processes within healthcare logistics have high standards and are managed under rules set by the Federal Drug Association (FDA). Healthcare warehousing must comply with those rules, too.
  • Inventory Management: Keeping accurate records is crucial to avoid mis-shipments. A mis-shipment of a prescription could be deadly to an end client and result in litigation amongst different parties.
  • Security: Ensuring that valuable medical supplies and sensitive data are protected from theft or tampering. Depending on what the product is, it can be highly valued on the black market.

To overcome these obstacles, it is important to have a well-thought-out strategy and put into action the most effective methods specifically designed for the healthcare industry.

Top Strategies for Managing Healthcare Warehousing

Implement Advanced Inventory Management Systems

Managing inventory is the most important component of a good healthcare warehousing strategy because of the consequences if it’s not handled correctly. Using inventory management systems (IMS) can simplify operations, guaranteeing precision and effectiveness. 

  • Real-Time Tracking: Implement systems that provide real-time updates on inventory levels.
  • Automated Replenishment: Use reporting and automation flows to automatically reorder supplies before they run out.
  • Batch and Expiry Tracking: Monitor batches and expiry dates to ensure first-expired, first-out (FEFO) protocols.

Ensure Robust Temperature Control

A lot of medical supplies and pharmaceuticals need to be kept at specific temperatures. It is essential to store these products properly in order to preserve their integrity.

  • Cold Chain Logistics: Consider investing in cold chain logistics to maintain the optimal temperature for your products throughout the entire supply chain.
  • Temperature Monitoring: Use modern sensors and monitoring systems to track temperature and humidity in storage rooms. According to Pharmaceutical Commerce, the cold chain logistics industry for pharmaceuticals was valued at $13.4 billion in 2019 and is predicted to reach $21.3 billion by 2024.
  • Contingency Plans: Develop contingency plans for power outages or equipment failures to prevent spoilage.

Maintain Regulatory Compliance

Healthcare warehousing needs to adhere to a range of regulations and standards in order to guarantee safety and effectiveness.

  • GMP and FDA Guidelines: Ensure that warehousing practices align with Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and FDA guidelines.
  • Regular Audits: Conduct regular internal audits to identify and address compliance issues.
  • Training Programs: Provide ongoing training for staff on regulatory requirements and best practices.

Enhance Security Measures

Protecting medical supplies from theft and tampering is the top priority in healthcare warehousing.

  • Access Control Systems: Install access control systems to prevent unauthorized access to storage areas.
  • Surveillance: Consider implementing video surveillance to keep track of warehouse operations.
  • Data Security: Implementing robust cybersecurity measures to protect inventory data from potential breaches is extremely important. In 2021, the average cost per incident for healthcare data breaches was $9.42 million, underscoring the significance of implementing strong security measures.

Optimize Warehouse Layout and Design

Improving operational efficiency and productivity is possible with a well-planned warehouse architecture.

  • Zoning: Make distinct areas for various products according to their storage needs and how often they are accessed.
  • Ergonomics: Design storage areas that prioritize worker comfort and efficiency by minimizing physical strain and reducing picking times.
  • Scalability: Plan for future expansion by creating adaptable, flexible areas. At Buske, we specifically design our warehouse space to create safe environments including HAZMAT stations for accidents and protocols for any exposure.

Leverage Technology and Automation

Adopting technology and automation can completely transform healthcare warehousing operations.

  • Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems (ASRS): Implement ASRS to increase efficiency and reduce human error. This can also greatly benefit the unit economics for the total cost to deliver.
  • Robotic Process Automation (RPA): Use RPA to streamline repetitive tasks like order picking and inventory checks.
  • IoT and AI: Integrate Internet of Things (IoT) devices and Artificial Intelligence (AI) for predictive maintenance of HVAC systems and smart inventory equipment. 

Foster Collaboration and Communication

For warehousing operations to run smoothly, we use a daily management system (DMS) that helps with facilitating communication across all levels of management.

  • Integrated Systems: Use integrated software systems that facilitate communication between suppliers, warehouse staff, and distribution teams.
  • Regular Meetings: Schedule regular meetings to talk about issues and opportunities for development.
  • Customer Feedback: Gather feedback from healthcare providers to ensure warehousing services meet their needs.

FAQs About Healthcare Warehousing

What are the best warehousing companies for healthcare?

It is essential to select the appropriate warehousing partner to guarantee the efficient and compliant storage of medical products. Seek out companies with a history of success in healthcare logistics, reliable technology, and in-depth regulatory understanding. 

How can I ensure the security of my medical supplies in a warehouse?

It is imperative to put in place cutting-edge security measures including CCTV, access control systems, and robust cybersecurity protocols. Valued medical supplies are also greatly protected by regular staff training and following security best practices.

What are the key factors to consider when designing a pharmaceutical warehouse?

Think about things like scalability, effective layout, regulatory compliance, and temperature control while developing a pharmaceutical warehouse. Additionally improving operations accuracy and efficiency is investing in cutting-edge technology and automation.

Why Choose Buske Logistics for Your Healthcare Warehousing Needs?

Buske Logistics has years of healthcare warehousing experience with top companies in the industry. We are extremely proud of our exceptional facilities, state-of-the-art technology, and unwavering commitment to meeting all regulatory requirements. Rest assured that your medical products will be stored securely and handled with utmost efficiency.

Our specialized warehousing solutions have satisfied leading healthcare providers and pharmaceutical businesses. Healthcare warehousing, from temperature-sensitive storage to advanced inventory management, is one of our specialties.

Ready to Optimize Your Healthcare Warehousing?

If you're searching for a company to help improve your healthcare warehousing operations, we’ve got you covered. Our team's expertise, combined with our advanced technology, ensures that we can provide top-notch service for managing your medical supply storage needs.

Contact us today to find out more about how we can help you reach your storage goals and make your supply chain more efficient.