End-to-end visibility is the key to creating more efficient, cost-effective, and sustainable pharmaceutical supply chains
Much has been said about the role of the Covid-19 pandemic as a digital accelerator. Across the pharmaceutical industry, companies have been looking to implement digital solutions throughout their value chains. Many are finding the challenge of creating end-to-end visibility in supply chains is throwing light on gaps in business process as well as technology. The industry needs solutions that can help companies identify both.
End-to-end monitoring allows data to be aggregated, distributed, and analyzed across multiple tiers and otherwise disconnected operational islands in order to provide a holistic view of a supply chain. Essentially it means that each partner in the supply chain has access to one digital view with relevant, accurate data when they need it.
Since 2018, TSS has offered an end-to-end temperature control solution for its customers running clinical studies. The temperature data we collect offers our clients complete visibility and allows them to release products more safely, reduce wastage and save both time and costs. Drugs at clinical sites can be automatically evaluated and released, on item-level, based on the full temperature exposure from manufacturing to the last mile. The insight generated is helping planners, logistics and quality teams improve their processes, understand each other’s needs and collaborate more effectively.
Temperature monitoring data not only provides a descriptive digital representation on whether to release a drug or not, but also allows clients to access predictive insight into, for example, what packaging works best for individual shipments on specific routes. We have helped our clinical clients operate more effectively and through our experience developed a range of solutions that can now contribute to the transformation of pharmaceutical supply chains.
Expanding the end-to-end supply chain monitoring concept from clinical trials to the commercial setting presents some interesting challenges. What starts as a batch at manufacturing then branches out through a more complex supply chain with multiple tiers of distribution and split shipments meaning that there are not only more stakeholders but more moving parts to monitor. Connecting these different islands together in a way that facilitates the logical flow of data and insight between different parts of a chain is often just as much about creating connected business processes as it is about the technology used.
Supply chain visibility
If you can overcome these challenges, there are certainly a range of important benefits that companies can gain from removing the need to divide the stability budget over different phases and optimizing their use of temperature and stability data end-to-end. For example, automating manual processes and breaking down information silos is essential for enabling more intelligent decision-making and risk analysis. An important part of efficient end-to-end control is the work that goes into understanding different stakeholders, what data they need and what routes for collaboration exist. As well as the technology, our collaboration also helps supply chain organisations do just this.
Increasing visibility across supply chains can drive value for individual operators, the wider pharma ecosystem and, most importantly, the end patients. Ultimately the reason we all work in this sector is to make sure that we are delivering the best service possible to people around the world. That duty of care not only extends to providing drugs as safely and effectively as possible, but ensuring we are efficient with our resource use too. End-to-end supply chain visibility and stability data helps companies address the inefficiencies in their current processes, allowing them to boost sustainability and reduce costs. For me, it is the key to creating efficient, sustainable and effective supply chains.