Before looking at the meaning of the term medical logistics, lets first define the words logistics and medical.
Logistics, a subset of chain management, is all about making sure that all the material and staff are in the right place as the right time. Logistics is crucial to ensure that, for example, a business objective or project is accomplished.
We can use logistics as a singular or plural noun, i.e., we can say ‘logistics is’ or ‘logistics are.’
Medical refers to anything relating to the science of medicine as well as its practice. The treatments of injuries or illnesses are medical matters. Doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals focus on all things medical.
Medical logistics is the logistics of surgical, medical, and pharmaceutical supplies. It also includes the supplies of medical devices, medical and laboratory equipment, and other items, products, and pieces of equipment to support dentists, doctors, veterinary physicians, nurses, and other healthcare providers.
Healthcare Logistics Management, a medical logistics company based in Sacramento, California, USA, says the following regarding medical logistics management:
“In the medical field, efficiency isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity. With so much to consider and so much at stake, you need a medical logistics management company that can provide smart transportation solutions for your healthcare products.”
Effectiveness vs. Efficiency
What medical logistics companies do is very similar to what their counterparts in civil engineering, oil & gas, construction, and other sectors do. However, there is one fundamental difference – their focus on effectiveness and efficiency.
- Efficiency is all about functioning or performing in the best way possible with the minimum of effort and waste.
- Effectiveness, on the other hand, is all about making sure something, such as a project, accomplishes its purpose, i.e., it produces the expected or intended result.
For most logistics firms, efficiency is their top priority. The customers of medical logistics companies, however, are responsible for the health and lives of their patients. Therefore, making sure that everything serves its purpose without fail, i.e., effectiveness, is what matters the most.
Logistics – Part of the Supply Chain
The supply chain includes all the entities that participate in getting a product to a customer – from beginning to end. It starts with extracting or acquiring the raw material and goes all the way to getting the finished product to the end user.
Supply chain management (SCM) is the management of the movement or flow of products and services. It is the management of each and every item that goes towards creating a product and delivering it to customers.
People who work in SCM are involved in every stage of a product’s creation and delivery. Medical logistics firms today are adopting supply chain management approaches and theories in their quest to drive down costs in the healthcare sector.
According to Wikipedia:
“Medical logistics functions comprise an important part of the healthcare system: after staff costs, medical supplies are the single most expensive component of healthcare. To drive costs out of the health-care sector, medical logistics providers are adopting supply chain management theories.”