UPS Plans to use IoT for Healthcare Traceability

healthcare traceability

The Internet of Things (IoT) helps supply chain leaders enhance tracking and other logistics tasks related to improving transparency. In our modern time, this isn't optional, it is needed.

As this need grows, UPS recently announced the expansion of UPS Premier. This program is a new critical healthcare-oriented service that integrates next-generation tracking and sensor technology to improve the accuracy of tracking of medical and healthcare products. 

According to a recently published press release, each of the UPS healthcare operations will group together under an innovated quality-driven management and certification solution that helps to achieve improved operation standards and performance. The formation of UPS Healthcare and Life Science Unit (HCLS) will allow the shipping giant to focus its IoT enhancement efforts in a more tactful and streamlined way. 


The Digitally Enabled Healthcare Network

The new UPS Premier line of products will provide several levels of customized services specifically for healthcare-industry customers. It leverages and builds upon UPS’s Smart Global Logistics Network tracking capacity alongside on-package sensor technology.

This new IoT solution enables priority flow paths, contingency actions, sortation, and delivery services for those critical healthcare shipments. This will come in extremely useful for things such as expensive life-saving medications. 

“We’re giving customers an exceptional amount of visibility and security for their most critical healthcare and life sciences shipments,” said David Abney, chairman and CEO. “With these technologies and processing plans, we will have greater flexibility to protect these urgent packages along the ‘chain of custody’, provide contingency solutions and ensure best-in-class service reliability.”

The solution is one portion of a large UPS expansion that is intended to retrofit UPS’s facilities with IoT solutions that will help the company move one step closer to a more open supply chain. 

 “Dependable and reliable service levels are important for critical healthcare and life sciences shipments, no matter the situation,” Abney said. “And these solutions will enable UPS to deliver just that.”


Enhanced Quality Management System (QMS)

The healthcare industry depends on quality management systems to help expedite inventory management, product storage, and distribution of healthcare-specific products. This type of quality-assurance is vital for healthcare products. 

The new QMS by UPS is patterned off the existing systems used by major pharmaceutical companies. It’s a cloud-based solution that features best-in-class validation processes, reporting tools on a global front, and an electronic document management system. 

According to the press release, “efficient inventory management is one of the most important healthcare supply chain components. Having visibility into all other inventory systems globally will allow for enhanced predictability, visibility, and planning for the customer,” explained Abney.


The Skinny on UPS HCLS

To effectively implement and fine-tune this new healthcare-specific solution, UPS decided to connect all their commercial and healthcare operations to the HCLS. The collaboration of multiple industry leaders permits them to connect with customers to understand how UPS can customize solutions and services to meet the evolving needs of the healthcare industry. 

The HCLS unit is made up of more than 5,000 people, working at 114 UPS healthcare facilities. The objective is to improve rigorous quality-assurance standards and service levels. As with many logistics companies, UPS HCLS is taking a customer-first approach. 

 “We will operate a business model that puts our customers’ best interests first with focused and streamlined services. This model lays down the foundation for more product innovations and enhancements in the coming years,” continued Abney. “Connecting our global healthcare activities is a logical step to further improve the customer experience.”