Today Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) announced it is partnering with SAP for a blockchain medical device supply chain initiative. The platform will also leverage IoT tooling offered by SAP’s Leonardo cloud platform.
The medical device industry is very global, which means the supply chain can be complicated. Plus it’s usually critical that surgical kit is kept sterile throughout the supply chain. Another feature of the industry is to provide equipment on loan or consignment, which means returns have to be efficiently processed.
TCS’s Intelligent Field Inventory Management (iFIM) solution aims to enable traceability so that manufacturers, distributors and hospitals have visibility of particular orders.
“The iFIM Solution leverages SAP’s intelligent enterprise portfolio to utilize IoT and blockchain to help our customers digitally transform their loaner and consignment kit business models and deliver superior outcomes for all stakeholders in their ecosystems,” said Vikram Karakoti, Head, Life Sciences Business Group, TCS.
Ultimately the objectives are to improve patient outcomes, optimize inventory and enable easier regulatory compliance.
The irony is a large proportion of the hospitals that use the medical kit have neither knowledge nor appetite for blockchain. A recent IDC survey found that 44% of European hospitals had no awareness of blockchain, and a further 23% lacked an understanding of blockchain’s impact. But given the TCS solution is targeted at the medical equipment providers, that’s perhaps unimportant. Increasingly the blockchain aspect of solutions will be hidden in the background.