The best supply chain is an invisible one. Every time you go to the grocery store, for example, you are experiencing an efficient and streamlined supply chain without even realizing it. All the products, though they are made by multiple companies and sold by a single store, scan easily and can be paid for together. Sounds like a no-brainer, right? That’s how we as consumers expect our retail experience to go. However, that simple transaction takes a lot of coordination behind the scenes, and not every industry has reached that level of sophistication yet.
Healthcare, unfortunately, is one of those that still has some work to do. Not all manufacturers and hospitals use the same systems to label and track products through the supply chain, which leads to confusion and error when organizations try to do business with one another. However, as an industry we’re making progress, with the help of organizations like GS1. GS1 is a global, not-for-profit organization that is dedicated to helping industries perfect their supply chains.
Cook Medical was one of the first medical device companies to embark on assigning universal numbers and bar codes to our products. Each of our products is now identified with a GS1 Global Trade Item Number® (GTIN) and a bar code on its label.
There are a lot of reasons why adopting this system made sense for us. GTINs will make our internal warehouse supply chain more efficient, and they create a global language for our products across all of our global locations.
For hospitals that have also adopted GTIN, the ability to track a product all the way through their system with a single number will increase efficiency and reduce errors. And there is a clear benefit to patient safety that the right product can get to the right patient at the right time more easily. As each new organization commits to using GTINs, we’re bringing healthcare up to a “grocery store” standard of doing business.