The supply chain sits at the center of the health care industry’s ongoing transformation. A recent study by Navigant found that U.S. hospitals could reduce annual supply expenses by approximately $23 billion in aggregate through improvements in supply chain operations, processes and product use. The cloud offers a cost-effective model, along with massive computing power, to support the most innovative supply chain initiatives.

Five years ago, automation in the health care supply chain was simply an emulation of paper processes. It was better than paper, but it didn’t allow the industry to do anything faster, or dramatically different. Since then, the industry has made significant progress emerging from the technological Stone Age to become fully automated. Supply chain transactions that used to take 90 minutes have been reduced to 15 minutes.

That is really just the start. The next step in this automation evolution is just-in-time delivery. True real-time delivery will increase efficiency across the health care supply chain and help providers keep inventory and costs low, while reducing waste. Pushing the supply chain to this next level requires a tremendous amount of computing power that was previously cost-prohibitive for most industry stakeholders.

The cloud changes the paradigm. It enables speed, scale, and resiliency without major capital investments. The cloud allows us to reimagine the supply chain’s potential because we can scale up the architecture and processing power as demand dictates, at a fraction of the cost.