Global expansion desirable but problematic; UPS survey

By Nick Taylor

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Cent Supply chain management

Nearly half of healthcare supply chain executives are planning to expand into emerging markets in the next 18 months, according to a UPS survey, but are concerned about the process.

In its annual Pain in the (supply) chain ​survey UPS reported a 22 per cent increase in the level of concern around respondents’ ability to access emerging markets. The survey found that 40 per cent of respondents are “very​” or “extremely​” concerned about accessing emerging markets

Of these concerned respondents, only 32 per cent reported success in accessing global markets. Respondents’ most significant barriers to entering emerging markets were country regulations, considered a major issue by 54 per cent of people, followed by product security and quality.

Despite these concerns global expansions look set to continue, with 20 per cent of respondents planning to enter China within 18 months. Other locations listed as targets were India, Brazil, Argentina and Saudi Arabia, which 10 per cent of respondents plan to expand into.


The survey suggests that environmentally-friendly packaging is gaining ground, with 52 per cent of respondents having adopted more sustainable alternatives. A further 20 per cent are actively considering initiatives in this area.

Environmental concerns extend into other areas. The survey found that 57 per cent of companies are implementing measures to boost energy efficiency, with a further 19 per cent actively considering initiatives.

However, fewer companies have managed to reduce carbon footprints. UPS reported 32 per cent have achieved this and an additional 22 per cent are actively considering carbon reduction plans.

Furthermore, companies’ policies tend to be limited to their own operations, with 22 per cent saying they have also taken steps to reduce their suppliers’ carbon footprints. The majority of respondents, 62 per cent, said they are prioritising other areas.


Theft and counterfeiting of pharma products has increased in prominence in recent years and this is reflected in the survey. Product security was highly concerning for 40 per cent of the industry.

Of these concerned respondents, 69 per cent listed counterfeiting is a worry, 60 per cent said product theft is a top challenge and 53 per cent voiced fears about product diversion. Overall, product security was the third largest supply chain issue, behind costs and regulatory compliance.

The survey was conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of UPS. Harris performed blind telephone interviews with senior-level supply chain and logistics representatives of 150 pharma, biotech and medical device firms.

Related topics Globalization Drug Delivery

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