Medical Supplies Plagued by Shortage

Medical Supplies Plagued by Shortage

March 20, 2018

Hurricane Maria highlighted a growing issue with medical supplies. The pharmaceutical industry is plagued by quality issues, manufacturing problems that are kept secret, and supply chain disruptions.

In previous posts, we talked about hospitals’ responses to the IV bag shortage. But according to the FDA, Hurricane Maria’s damage to the production infrastructure on Puerto Rico affected dozens of medical supplies and pharmaceuticals. Months later, 10 drugs are still in short supply.

This post is based on the CBS News article, Why so many medicines are in short supply months after Hurricane Maria, by Walecia Konrad, Feb 12, 2018. Image source: Peopleimages / Getty Images.

Discussion Questions

1. What are the considerations a pharmaceutical company should contemplate when choosing a manufacturing location?

Guidance: Students should review location analysis, manufacturing strategies, and quality management.  If there is time or perhaps a homework assignment, students could be asked to research the pharmaceutical industry for the suppliers of, and demand for, IV saline or another generic medicine.  Consider assigning a two-page report: page one is background on the locations, supply chain network, quality issues for their assigned medicine; on page two, recommendations to improve quality, change locations, identify Continue reading

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FedEx and Overnight Success

FedEx and Overnight Success

March 19, 2018

Fred Smith, founder of FedEx, developed his now-ubiquitous hub-and-spoke distribution design based on a college term paper, and his experiences in Vietnam.

Mr. Smith understood the need for overnight guaranteed delivery of inventory as well as the intangible customer relief of having a valuable package safely arrive.  The brand’s image is based on that guarantee.

Logistics design is the heart of the FedEx empire. With Amazon entering the shipping business, how long before the empire will be under siege?

This post is based on the Ad Week article, How FedEx’s Founder Revolutionized Shipping With a Mediocre College Term Paper, by Robert Klara, March 13, 2018. Image source: Shutterstock / Lightspring.

Discussion Questions

1. Describe the hub-and-spoke supply chain network that FedEx pioneered.

Guidance: Students should review logistics, transportation, and location material.  It may be helpful for students to research FedEx to find all the “hubs”.  This could lead to a discussion of the utility of the center-of-gravity method to determine the next “hub”.

2. Identify the service package that FedEx created.

Guidance: Students should review service packages, service blueprint, service-profit chain.  They should easily identify the tangible aspects of the service package, Continue reading

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