Aninda Shome, Director-Global Supply Chain, Pfizer India, in interaction with, Industry Outlook, shares his views on the pharmaceutical Supply Chain. During the conversation, he throws light on the issues pertaining to On-time in-full (OTIF) delivery, optimizing inventory levels and more.
For many pharmaceuticals, even a slight temperature deviation during transit, or exposure to moisture, can render a shipment unusable, resulting in millions of dollars in losses. In light of this, can you elaborate more on the importance of effective supply chain management in the pharmaceutical industry?
An important aspect of supply chain management in the pharmaceutical industry
is to shorten timelines and enhance access to meet the evolving healthcare needs of people around the world. The efficiency of a supply chain process depends on the quality of inventory management and coordination.
Given the sensitive and delicate nature of pharma shipments and the criticality of getting them across to the end users in a safe and timely manner, it is clear that these products have to be under Real Time Temperature Monitoring. In pharma, the product being shipped can fall under any of the four categories:
• Cold Chain
• Cool Room
The pharmaceutical industry uses a large variety of modern monitoring devices and systems to help with temperature tracking, medication production, effective storage, distribution, robust packing, warehousing and transport facilities to ensure temperature stability to the last point of delivery and use. Combining digital applications with each operational step in the supply chain and raising awareness through training programs for evolving processes and protocols is a must.
Route validation for new lanes, Green Channel and direct port delivery custom clearance should also be evaluated and established to guarantee all medical cargo arrives safely and reliably at the destination.
Pharma companies should have a strong last mile distribution from the wholesaler to the points of dispensing (e.g. pharmacy, hospital, clinic, dispensing doctor and others) as it ensures on time, high quality, effective and safe delivery of products.
The ultimate result should be an efficient supply chain process that is less capital intensive and, consequently, reduces an organization’s operational costs.
On-time in-full (OTIF) delivery has quickly become an industry standard in the pharma domain and real-time, end-to-end data insights is key to meeting OTIF delivery commitments. In your opinion, how can pharma companies mitigate the risk of OTIF delivery failures?
Pharmaceutical cold chains do not have a margin for errors. Most pharma shippers and logistics providers are known to use passive data logging devices that record data for downloading upon retrieval. In pharma, OTIF is a top priority and an all-or-nothing proposition: delivering on time but not in full, or in full but not on time, is equivalent to not delivering at all.
It is imperative today for pharma companies to have a right logistic network strategy that augments go-to-market and in turn meets delivery timelines. Real-time, end-to-end data insights and visibility from a trusted source are critical to collaborating and managing in-transit shipments, to meet OTIF commitments.
To cater to the rising demand of the pharmaceutical trade, end-user industries are availing cold chain logistics.
Having reliable logistic service providers with appropriate warehousing and transport infrastructure contributes significantly to meet market dynamics. In addition to this, creating real time visibility with first paying customers, keeps them informed about delivery schedules and product arrivals, resulting in better customer satisfaction and buyer experience.
To move up the value chain, increasing the resilience and agility of supply chains, with technology as a pivot, is crucial for the pharma sector. Pharma companies are now emphasising the importance of digitisation and its benefits for various business functions, especially in operations and logistics. Digital interface along the entire supply chain management process plays a major role in maintaining OTIF KPI’s.