As consumers in the modern world, we place a lot of value on fast service. We can find fast food chains on nearly every street corner, we use two-day shipping with Amazon Prime, and we demand the fastest internet speeds we can get. We are fully immersed in an on-demand economy that is driven by our desire for convenience. However, we rarely think about the inputs that go into this extremely fast service.
The inputs that go into this quick service are pretty standard for most of the products we consume, and we might even occasionally think about how the hamburger we are eating got from the farm to our plate. But what about the medical products and services we use? It’s safe to assume that on a regular basis, we aren’t thinking about how this medicine got to the pharmacy. We just know that we feel terrible and need something quick to ease the pain. Even more relevant are the times that we have to undergo surgery. The supply chain is the last thing on our minds, and matters very little to us in that moment.
In those situations, though, the supply chain can be the difference between living and dying.
We were reminded about this firsthand when we received a call from a frantic customer a few weeks ago. At 7am, he called one of our sales team members, explaining that he urgently needed to get an implant to a surgeon in Nashville, TN. The surgery was going to take place that very day at 4pm. His original carrier fell through, but the surgery was still scheduled to proceed. Needless to say, because of his quick thinking, and some urgency on our part, we were able to deliver this implant to the surgeon himself before the surgery began.
This is why we say that the supply chain is the difference between living and dying. The person receiving this implant had no idea that any of this occurred, and yet the supply chain allowed them to receive this important treatment. Even though this person would probably not have died had the surgery been delayed, this situation reminded us about how important on-time delivery, clear communication, and the supply chain really is. In some cases though, a service failure could cause a lot more harm than just to the bottom line. And in many cases, transportation actually saves lives.