The pharmaceutical supply chain between constraints, digitalization and sustainability

The pharmaceutical supply chain must respond to specific constraints and regulations dictated by the industry and the nature of the goods, while trying to stay abreast of improving digital technologies.

At a time in history when the digital world is constantly evolving and governments are taking responsibility for climate change, it can be asserted that digitization and green economy are the pillars that will influence every industry, including pharma.

Between controls and constraints, what should the supply chain look like?

The manufacturing process turns out to be particularly critical due to short shelf-life dates of the excipients and active drug ingredients. To control the timing and avoid contamination risks, each batch must be subject to meticulous traceability. All of these regulatory constraints make maintaining inventory more complex than in any other industry, which is precisely why the pharmaceutical supply chain must be flexible and agile in order to ensure optimal responsiveness and greater integration among chain players. That’s why one of the biggest challenges for the pharmaceutical supply chain will be precisely flexibility and the subsequent responsiveness.

The flexibility and responsiveness needed by the pharmaceutical supply chain

The recent pandemic crisis has highlighted the weaknesses of the pharmaceutical supply chain. The aftermaths have directly impacted the population with a lengthening of waiting times and frequent interruptions of drugs stock, PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), oxygen, etc. This proves that public health depends on efficiency in managing the pharma supply chain. At a time when these aspects have shown their limits, the companies of the pharma industry have faced major transformations to optimize processes and ensure the continuity of medicines distribution.

How to optimize the supply chain in pharma industry?

Production, transportation, warehousing… the pharmaceutical supply chain is increasingly bounded and influenced by external and international factors. For this reason, it is essential to create efficient solutions for material planning, production and warehouse management, automating internal and external information flows.

The pharmaceutical supply chain must be optimized by effective and appropriate tools based on a well-defined strategy, since it cannot afford delays in which production planning plays a very significant role.

The level of optimization that can be achieved will make the management of the warehouse and the distribution of medicines more efficient, while maintaining high standards of quality and traceability. This will avoid interruptions between request, execution and delivery.

Moreover, the optimization of shipments in compliance with regulatory constraints will have a significant impact on the sustainability of the entire pharmaceutical supply chain.