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Beyond physical products: The diverse nature of supply chains

Beyond physical products: The diverse nature of supply chains

Where do you keep your twitch?

From beta blockers to digital carrier pigeons. Samaritans to counsellors with cross-word puzzles. Neuroscientists to psychotherapists.

Jess, from Pangaea Poetry, explores the supply chain for mental health services through her poem Twitch.

Supply chains are not just for physical products though, as her poem identifies, there is a physical supply chain for the medicines we receive. In the UK pharmaceutical supply chains have to meet a 24-hour target to get over 21,000 different types of medicine to patients across the British Isles. However, Beta-Blockers are but one small part of a mental health supply chain. Jess uncovers both the formal and informal support networks that exist. Whether it is a planned trip through the waiting room to see a general practitioner (GP), counsellor or psychotherapist. Or the informal gathering of a support group physically or virtually. There is a service supply chain behind all these activities.

The supply chains for services are often even more invisible to us than for physical products. We can get frustrated when a full bus passes us by or when we have to wait for an appointment to see a doctor without thinking about the chain of activities that leads to the provision of that service. These activities also have to balance demand and supply. For resource constrained public services this can be particularly difficult particularly at peak periods.

Supply chains truly are everywhere.

Talking Point

  • What is the most unusual supply chain that you can think of?
  • How well does it balance demand and supply?
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Supply Chains in Practice: How Things Get to You

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