Challenges Affecting Supply Chain to Continue Beyond Pandemic

As climate change and other factors continue to affect supply chain, health systems need to work with a trusted distribution partner.


By: McKesson Health Systems Editorial Team

Read Time: 3 minutes

The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to supply chain challenges around the world that included product shortages, shipping backlogs, and rising inflation. These obstacles highlighted the vulnerabilities in the supply chain system and reiterated the need for health systems to work with a trusted distribution partner to institute continuity of care for their patients.

In the newly released Economic Report of the President, White House economists analyzed the supply chain as one of the key economic issues facing the country. The report stressed that while the pandemic exposed the vulnerabilities in the supply chain, it didn’t create them, warning that the problems won’t go away when the pandemic ends. In addition, they warn that climate change and natural disasters will make future disruptions inevitable.

Companies that have adopted just-in-time production strategies that minimize the parts and materials they keep in inventory have contributed to a supply chain that is efficient but brittle in the face of a pandemic, war, or natural disaster.1

The Economic Report of the President concludes that though supply chains have performed well with over 20 percent more goods flowing through the economy in 2021 compared with pre-pandemic times, it is important to address supply chain fragility given that disruptions are likely to continue.

An increase in natural disasters has contributed to supply chain disruptions. The rate of incidents has increased four times the average per year over the past 40 years. The frequency of these events is likely to continue to rise, according to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC 2022). In addition, an analysis of 405 extreme weather events over the past decade by Carbon Brief shows that 70% were more likely to occur, or made more severe, because of global warming.

A Trusted Distribution Partner

Health systems can be better prepared to establish continuity of care in a natural disaster by developing a comprehensive emergency plan and building strong relationships with distribution partners. A trusted distribution partner can help health systems navigate natural disasters and provide a reliable source for real-world insights. They also take their own advice to disaster-proof the supply chain as much as possible.

Experienced distributors like McKesson maintain business continuity plans to provide consistency during natural disasters. The program protects customers, ensures the safety of their employees, and keeps workplaces safe and secure. In addition, McKesson prioritizes the continuity of critical business processes following natural disasters, as well as human-caused threats, public health emergencies, and other incidents.

In addition to safeguarding employees, mitigating negative impact to customers, and ensuring clear and open communications throughout a natural disaster, McKesson maintains focus on a return to critical services such as order management, fulfillment distribution, and service —as soon as possible.

Learn more about how we help health systems manage inventory.