Healthcare's supply chain in midst of digital transformation

By Sean Galea-Pace
The healthcare industry’s supply chain is in the midst of a transformation. Over the past few years, the sector has begun to embrace artificial intel...

The healthcare industry’s supply chain is in the midst of a transformation.

Over the past few years, the sector has begun to embrace artificial intelligence (AI) to influence decision-making and increase efficiency. One such example is Melbourne Health Logistics’s (MHL) Supplier Improvement Pilot Project. The project involves 10 Australia-based small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) and aims to address the challenges in supply chain and inventory management through digitisation.

There were primarily three key focus areas. These were centred around the implementation of data capturing technologies, improving data quality and introducing suppliers to the use of Electronic Data Interchange (EDI). Understanding that some data-driven initiatives might be challenging for suppliers that aren’t digital-first, MHL partnered with the federally-funded AusIndustry Entrepreneurs' programme to empower suppliers to develop digital capability.


Health Purchasing Victoria (HPB) which partners with public health services in identifying and procuring goods for hospitals around Victoria, is a leader in the project. Rob Setina, Director of Data and Systems, believes the benefits that data-driven initiatives can bring is significant. He noted that ‘efficiency gains are the stand-out benefit for suppliers to use their resources better,’ and believes that suppliers are future-proofing their business by adopting EDI. “At the moment, around 25% of purchase orders come through EDI,” adds Setina. “I believe that we can reach 50% within three years.”

The project also showcased the importance of one national product catalogue to store product information used by health services across Australia. In total, there is more than 20 catalogues in Victoria alone.

For more information on procurement, supply chain and logistics topics - please take a look at the latest edition of Supply Chain Digital magazine.

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