Nearly a third of supply chain professionals in the medical device industry say it will take just six to 12 months for global supply chains to recover from Covid-19 disruptions, and another 20% say it will take 12 months to two years, according to a study by electronics industry technology provider Supplyframe.
The survey of 200 supply chain professionals who work for medical device manufacturing companies revealed optimism about a recovery and the ability for U.S. supply chains to distribute a potential coronavirus vaccine; it also showed that concerns linger about data accuracy related to the virus as well as potential surge-related delays and product shortages throughout the supply chain.
“The supply chain has experienced delays in manufacturing, shortages in supply, and logistics problems due to travel restrictions,” Supplyframe CEO Steve Flagg said in a statement announcing the survey’s findings. “But most supply chain professionals believe the U.S. will have the equipment it needs to create and deliver a Covid-19 vaccine within a year of its approval. However, our research points to the many current and potential challenges the nation faces related to vaccinations, testing, and equipment availability. And it highlights the importance of data accuracy and intelligence.”
Some of the survey’s key findings include:
66% said they believe that if a vaccine is approved for use in the United States, the necessary medical equipment will be available to produce and distribute the vaccine at scale within one year. But as the pandemic drags on, 19% said they don’t think the U.S. will produce a vaccine fast enough and 16% said vaccine distribution in the U.S. is too onerous. Some said they expect too many Americans to refuse the vaccine.
82% of survey respondents said they worry about how tariffs on China will impact personal protective equipment (PPE) and medical devices. Thirty percent said U.S. manufacturing capacity needs to grow; more than a quarter (26%) said such medical gear will be harder to source; and 20% said they expect that there will be continued product shortages.
Nearly all respondents (92%) emphasized the importance of accurate Covid-19 case data to correctly forecast demand requirements and inform manufacturing efforts. Yet 84% expressed worries about how Covid-19 case data is being collected and reported in the U.S., with 44% indicating they have concerns about inaccuracies from Covid-19 testing.
Marketing firm Conceptial, Inc. conducted the survey on behalf of Supplyframe in August and September.