The Healthcare Supply Chain: 4 Strategies to Analytics Excellence

Healthcare organizations that invest in supply chain analytics programs see improved productivity, agility, cost reduction, and are better equipped to navigate disruption and cost constrained environments. Here are 4 supply chain strategies that balance analytics excellence and resiliency for optimized healthcare delivery.

Disruptive times breed historic challenges. Nowhere do we see this more clearly than in the global supply chain, which continues to face extreme testing. Amid unprecedented supply and demand fluctuations, staffing shortages, spiking logistics costs, and other unpredictable events, one truth has become clear: companies with intelligent supply chain infrastructure are far better positioned to deliver.

Healthcare organizations that have invested in digital operations and analytics enjoy an underlying advantage that helps them outpace their peers in innovation. Time to market. Anticipating disruptions. Cost efficiencies. And—most importantly—ensuring health continuity. 

Here are four strategies to help you elevate your healthcare supply chain.

Dashboard of healthcare supply chain.

1. Capture the value of IoT

Internet of things (IoT) technology uses intelligent sensors to capture information on objects in an environment, then connects with other devices or systems to exchange data. The real value of this tech for supply chains comes into play when you use Tableau to combine IoT data with business data for any number of use cases.

For example, Tableau can analyze IoT data from manufacturing operations for transport and delivery—such as real-time location tracking, storage condition monitoring, and locating goods in a warehouse—to monitor logistics and deliver real time transparency. 

While there’s no shortage of data, you come out ahead by outlining your top objectives around supply chain and supporting metrics, then using Tableau to break down internal silos and data sources. Tableau helps you organize your data to measure and create intelligence. The result? Improved processes and visibility into those metrics.

Tableau also tracks typical KPIs for supply chains, including process efficiency, fall-out orders, cost reduction, operational efficiency, output accuracy, turn-around time, and quality assurance.

2. Break down data silos

Empower everyone in your supply chain with self-service analytics for all-around agility and resilience. Our partnership with Snowflake brings a unique advantage to the Tableau solution: a nearly limitless, data agnostic platform for storage and processing with secure data sharing. 

By breaking down silos, Tableau extends your visibility into data shared by systems in partner business units, stakeholder organizations, and other third-party entities that play a role in your supply chain.

Working with third parties and vendors to integrate this data in Tableau, you gain predictive capabilities for the broader supply chain picture. You can couple this insight along with macro factors—like weather, regionalization, or labor shortages—to predict and prepare for disruptive events.

3. Adopt a self-service operating model

Tableau delivers a powerful, interactive, and approachable platform for users of all technical abilities. The solution enables everyone along the supply chain to unify disparate data, track the entire manufacturing and distribution process, analyze risk, and identify opportunities for efficiency and quality improvements.

Leveraging self-service analytics, all parties can access the information they need to adjust their strategies as conditions change. Now they’re prepared to maintain operations, despite ongoing disruptions. For example:

  • Virtual sales analytics enable sales reps and materials planners to see real-time inventory levels 
  • Plant floor analytics equip  employees with manufacturing process intelligence to improve product quality, optimize productivity, increase asset utilization/uptime, and automate manual workflows
  • Warehouse fulfillment metrics empower operational personnel to use Ask Data on iPads or iPhones to view inventory levels, see lead times, and check fulfillment status

Finally, Tableau’s seamless integration with Slack supports new levels of communication and collaboration. This translates to less time swivel-chairing from one system to another as users seek the information they need.

4. Augment your analytics

Tableau amplifies your analytics with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to expand your interaction with supply chain data at a contextual level. AI makes analytics more accessible so you can confidently explore and interact with data to drive meaningful decisions.

Using these integrated tools, you can connect real-time data streams to create a unified view of your supply chain and develop strategies based on AI-powered insights:

  • Explain Data: Discovers and describes relationships in your data. Use it to inspect, uncover, and dig deeper into a data visualization (viz) as you build, explore, and analyze your data.
  • Ask Data: Enables you to type a question in common language and instantly get a response right in Tableau. Answers come in the form of automatic data visualizations, so no need to manually drag-and-drop fields or understand the nuances of your data’s structure.
  • Data Stories: Generates narrative stories within your dashboard, saving time and surfacing relevant insights. As you explore the vizzes in your dashboard, the stories written by Data Stories adjust so you can dive deeper into data and identify key insights faster.
  • Genie: Unifies all your customer data and interactions across channels into a single, real-time customer profile, so every experience is more automated and intelligent.

Modernizing your supply chain is key

Shifting to an operating model that incorporates data analysis, AI, and digital transformation equips your healthcare company to scale, cut costs, and thrive—even in a supply chain environment characterized by unpredictability. 

Organizations that turn data into intelligence leveraging AI and predictive capabilities are ready to respond quickly when unexpected changes erupt. Compared to their peers, they realize improved productivity and cost efficiencies. They position themselves to innovate, provide solutions to global patient needs, and deliver more effectively on next generation solutions.