One of the complexities of the modern pharmaceutical supply chain occurs when a pharmaceutical dispensing organization “outsources” the management of their on-premises inventory to their supplier, or “vendor”. This is known as Vendor Managed Inventory, or VMI. There are several good reasons this might be done, including eliminating the need to deal with issues that have more to do with supply chain execution mechanics and fluctuating supply and demand than they do with the core competency of dispensing drugs.
When VMI is used in the pharma supply chain the supplier is typically a wholesaler whose core competency is in dealing with those exact issues. That’s just what they do. The wholesaler benefits from the VMI relationship because they become the exclusive supplier to the VMI customer. VMI can be a “win-win” proposition as long as costs are kept in-check.
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