Health Care

Input Stories

Preparing the Supply Chain for Future Pandemics

Manufacturers can take specific steps to improve the resilience of the health care supply chain, the NAM’s latest health care study found.

What’s going on: The study—conducted by the Manufacturing Policy Initiative at Indiana University—analyzes data from the COVID-19 pandemic, when manufacturers in the U.S. had to produce large quantities of critical health care equipment under difficult, fast-evolving conditions.

Building resilience: The study found that to prepare the supply chain for a future disruption of similar magnitude, manufacturers should focus on seven areas:

  • Speed: Manufacturers must be able to satisfy demand quickly.
  • Information: Manufacturers require timely access to accurate information.
  • Cost: Firms face the costs of taking action within the supply chain, as well as the costs of managing market unpredictability and policy environment uncertainty.
  • Networks: Partnerships can support information sharing and networks to help manufacturers navigate the disruption.
  • Size: Supply chain challenges can look different for small, medium-sized and new manufacturers than for larger, established firms.
  • Technology: Tech can help manufacturers increase production, improve efficiency and speed up innovation.
  • Flexibility: Responses can come from unexpected sources and need a flexible policy environment.

The NAM says: “Policymakers should utilize these lessons to bolster our supply chain for the next disruption,” NAM Chief Economist Chad Moutray said. “This analysis … reveals that there are key policy actions needed to strengthen the manufacturing supply chain. Research shows a more balanced regulatory agenda, with an emphasis on clarity, predictability and coordination, will help mitigate the effects of the next disruption.”

View More