Survey: Costs, reform, compliance are chief supply chain concerns

For the third year in a row, cost management tops the list of healthcare companies' supply chain concerns. And healthcare reform is being viewed as a supply chain game-changer among a portion of them.

Sixty-four percent of respondents from about 150 companies in the pharma, medical device and biotech industries report being "very" or "extremely" concerned about managing supply chain costs, up from 55 percent a year ago.

Just 44 percent of respondents, by contrast, report having success in their cost-management efforts.

That's according to this year's UPS survey of senior-level healthcare supply chain executives. But there is some positive news: Companies are pursuing global expansion plans despite impending healthcare reform and a weak economy. And supply chain investments are on the rise.

Healthcare reform is casting a shadow: Twenty percent of the supply chain execs say they doubt their companies will be able to afford to operate in a post-reform world; another 22 percent say they already have concluded that their companies don't have the infrastructure to compete in the future.

The survey finds also that the supply chain seniors are concerned about the escalating complexity of regulatory requirements around the world. In addition to country regulations being named the biggest barrier to global expansion, 60 percent say they are "very" or "extremely" concerned with regulatory compliance as a supply chain issue.

- here's the UPS announcement