Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to evaluate inventory management in the private healthcare sector in Malaysia, with a particular focus on the distribution of medicines from a wholesaler to clinics. Currently, there are issues with service levels to clinics that need addressing. Design/methodology/approach – The paper adopts a case study approach, with data collected through process mapping, interviews and data analysis. Data flow diagrams are used to visualise the organization's supply chain current and future process. Interviews are used to identify the main supply chain issues, with triangulation of these opinions through data analysis. Findings – The findings identify two main issues within the case study company – urgent orders and stock availability at the wholesaler. From this, a future state design of the supply chain is proposed, based around vendor‐managed inventory. Barriers to achieving this are also identified, including consideration of current supply chain management capabilities in Malaysia. Research limitations/implications – Only a single case study supply chain is studied, although two echelons are investigated. While this may limit the generalisation of the findings, there is value in demonstrating the benefits modern supply chain management techniques can bring to developing world healthcare supply chains. Practical implications – The paper shows that modern supply chain management techniques can bring benefits to healthcare supply chains in developing countries. Originality/value – The value of the paper arises from providing a detailed analysis of a healthcare supply chain in the developing world. There have been only a small number of other studies published in the literature.
Supply Chain Management: An International Journal – Emerald Publishing
Published: May 1, 2009
Keywords: Private hospitals; Distribution; Distribution and inventory management; Pharmaceuticals industry; Malaysia
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