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MIA Master's theses at BI Norwegian Business School

This spring, two master's theses have been written in connection with the MIA project at BI Norwegian Business School.

Andreas Farstad Moe and Harald Wright have investigated how the Norwegian healthcare sector can improve its availability of antibiotics, while Hanne Bastholm and Shan Trau have examined how Norway can build a more resilient personal protective equipment (PPE) supply chain. Below are abstracts for the two master's theses.

Availability of antibiotics in Norway

Andreas Farstad Moe and Harald Wright.

Purpose  

The study aims to identify which factors threaten the availability of antibiotics in Norway and propose mitigation strategies the Norwegian healthcare sector can implement to improve supply security.

Design/methodology/approach  

Through semi-structured interviews and multiple data sources, we analysed the Norwegian healthcare sector and the pip/taz supply chain from a holistic perspective. A case study of the broad-spectrum antibiotic piperacillin/tazobactam (pip/taz) has been conducted using a qualitative research strategy with an abductive research approach.

Findings  

The findings show a strong dependence on a limited number of upstream actors (i.e., active pharmaceutical ingredient manufacturers, contract manufacturing organisations, and marketing authorisation holders) and a mismatch in power favouring the suppliers, making the pip/taz supply chain vulnerable to disruptions.

Research limitations/implications 

The effects of the proposed mitigation strategies have not been quantified as the study is qualitative and exploratory.

Practical implications  

As pip/taz provides a general representation of the generic antibiotic market, the study forms a basis for decision-makers in the Norwegian healthcare sector to make evidence-based decisions to reduce medicine shortages.

Social implications  

The insight provided in this study can contribute to increased availability of antibiotics in Norway and reduce the risk of antimicrobial resistance associated with moving to broader spectrum antibiotics.

Original/value

Literature on medicine shortages within operations and supply chain management related journals is scarce. Empirical research has shown that supply chain-related problems are the main cause of medicine shortages in Norway. The study helps bridge the gap between literature on supply chain risk management and medicine shortages.

 

PPE preparedness in Norwegian public hospitals. A case study of COVID-19

Hanne Bastholm and Shan Trau.

Purpose

The study aims to identify mitigation strategies to build a more resilient personal protective equipment (PPE) supply chain in case of future disruptions, concentrating on two areas of supply chain management, namely inventory management and sourcing strategies.

Design/methodology/approach

The research is based on a mixed-method approach grounded in an abductive logic. Data collection consists mainly of qualitative interviews, as well as quantitative data to support the interviews.

Findings

During the COVID-19 pandemic, supply chain executives and healthcare workers have experienced supply, demand, process, and financial risks in the PPE supply chain. The findings and recommendations provide a basis for researchers to improve efficiency in healthcare supply chains.

Research limitations/implications

The focus of the study has mainly been on the PPE preparedness prior to the first outbreak of COVID-19 and perceived shortages of PPE during the first wave. Moreover, the context is limited to hospitals within the public sector in Norway.

Practical implications

Improving managers decision-making by learning from current events and assessing broader supply chain vulnerabilities, in addition to internal risks to operations that may affect resilience.

Social implications

If PPE is unavailable, hospital workers can get infected and infect patients or colleagues. Strengthening supply chain resilience of PPE is, therefore, a key societal challenge.

Original/value

Supply chain risk management (SCRM) methods are used to analyse the Norwegian healthcare sector, thus providing insight into areas given low priority and needs improvements. The study helps bridging the gap between literature on SCRM and practices in the PPE industry.