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The Changing Nature of Supply Chains

The Changing Nature of Supply Chains

07 Aug 12:00 by Alex Dobson

Logistics Recruiter Alex Dobson's blog this week focuses on the changing nature of pharmaceutical supply chains

I recently read an interesting article in the Pharma Times with the title ‘Supplying for tomorrow’s needs’. Within this article, written by Katrina Megget, it highlights how Supply Chains are increasingly stressed by demand variability and lower margins. To put a bit more flesh on the bone Professor Constantin Blome, Professor of Operations at the University of Sussex, highlights that with technology improving within the Pharmaceutical industry, the Supply Chain are playing catch up with the rest of the sectors. Megget stipulates that through a PwC report ‘most pharma companies have complex supply chains that are under-utilized, ineffective and ill-equipped to deal with the sort of products coming through the pipeline’. Looking deeper into this, the crux of the problem is Pharma companies not reconfiguring their manufacturing and distribution operations.

Blome highlights that the most impact on the Supply Chain was the compliance & risk management measures, the expansion into emerging markets and the availability of detailed patient data. In 2014 logistics organization UPS identified that 78% cited regulatory compliance as the main concern with the Supply Chain. The reason for the heightened compliance is due to the up-take in counterfeit and substandard medicines. Blome added that ‘companies will need to find effective measures to safeguard drugs and their operations via improving risk management and compliance mechanisms’. Moving into emerging markets means that Pharma companies should be mindful of selecting the right supply chain partners, manage quality, product safety and delivery risks. Finally gathering real time patient data can allow for higher efficiency and precise demand forecasting, which essentially keeps inventories low.

With this in mind, and undertaking my own research, it shows how the Pharmaceutical Supply Chain is constantly playing catch up with the other sectors within the industry.

Reference- Pharma Times, June 2017 Issue titled 'Supplying for tomorrow's needs'. Article written by Katrina Megget found on pages 26 to 28.