Optimizing Healthcare Through TechnologyWed, 09/05/2018 - 11:02
Q: How has UPS developed its presence in Mexico’s healthcare sector?
A: UPS has grown both organically and inorganically. First, by opening our own facilities and expanding the infrastructure of our locations and second, through acquisitions. When we entered the healthcare area in 2001 through Medistem Healthcare Services, our first acquisition, we obtained distribution capabilities in the segment. Poltraf and CEMELOG are some of our acquisitions in Europe. These companies have provided us with infrastructure and expertise.
When we want to grow in a region, we research potential strategic partners that can help us. Our latest acquisition is a company called Marken. It is the world leader in clinical supply chain solutions and will allow us to expand our logistics capabilities for clinical trials. Marken has a very strong network in Latin America and it is helping us strengthen our portfolio in Mexico and the rest of the region.
As a global logistics healthcare supply chain provider, we work with pharmaceutical companies, CROs and medical devices companies and we focus strongly on multinational companies that are expanding their presence in Mexico. We have a mature customer base in both Europe and the US and most of these customers want to expand their presence in Latin America. We also support domestic manufacturers.
Q: How will the Marken acquisition help to improve UPS’ position in the sector?
A: Marken specializes in the transport of biological products sensitive to temperature. It is a global expert in the transportation of medicinal products in the clinical research segment. Marken sends these biological samples from clinical locations to central laboratories and has built a complete network around this segment. Clinical trials in Latin America are on the rise and Mexico is a growing country. We see this acquisition as a way for us to strengthen and expand our portfolio in this area. Now, we can work with the pharmaceutical manufacturers in its supply chain, which means we can help them design their clinical logistics network and then help them in the supply chain design.
Q: How are logistics companies contributing to building a regulatory network in the region?
A: In our study UPS Pain in the Chain Healthcare Survey, we saw that over the last four years the main challenges for those responsible for healthcare logistics are cost management, regulatory compliance, product protection and product damage. One of the key activities of the UPS quality assurance team is to establish close relationships with the regulatory agencies in each country in which we operate. We have approximately 1,100 licenses worldwide to ensure that we are compliant in every single country where we are present. Compliance is complex in Latin America, since there are about 50 countries and territories and each has a different regulation. Our added value is the experience we accumulate in each country and the relationships with the agencies in those countries to ensure that our facilities and processes comply with regulations.
Q: How does technology contribute to the optimization of UPS’s operations?
A: We consider UPS as a technology company, since we invest around US$1 billion each year in this area. Technologies such as UPS My Choice provide control to our customers. This is critical in healthcare, because patients are waiting for medications that may be sensitive to temperature, for example. If a client signs up for UPS My Choice, they receive a notification of when the package will arrive; if for some reason the client is not at home, he has the option of retaining it, routing it or assigning a neighbor to receive it. UPS has also been involved in a significant project in Rwanda for the delivery of blood products through drones. We have partnered with other associations to bring these products to remote areas. In addition, we are exploring other uses of this type of technology in the health industry.