Strategies for Optimizing Pharmaceutical Supply Chain Efficiency

Hridkamal Roy, Assistant Editor, India Pharma Outlook

A leading Indian pharmaceutical manufacturer faced compliance issues regarding its production of two of the most widely used chemotherapy medicines in the US, cisplatin and carboplatin.  The manufacturing plant faced an import alert despite which it was allowed to supply 24 critical care drugs because the company is the producer and supplier of over half of the US’s requirement of the two chemotherapy drugs. Burdened by various other supply chain constraints, the Indian pharmaceutical industry is currently at a developmental stage and looking for definitive strategies to overcome them.

“Companies have entirely changed how they look at their supply chains. Before the pandemic, procurement was mainly focused on getting the product at the lowest cost possible without compromising quality. But today, companies have realized the value of supply chain resilience compared to supply chain optimization in terms of price and timelines”, Akhil Ravi, CEO, Aurigene Pharmaceutical Services Limited.

Companies are looking forward to implementing an organized approach to combat the challenges by making use of modern technology innovations and achieve the required supply chain efficiency. There has been a complete transformation in processes as Pharma 4.0 has opened up new possibilities for the industry.

Enabling IoT for Tracking and Monitoring

By using IoT trackers and sensors, pharmaceutical suppliers are able to get real time visibility of all shipments. The deployment of these sensors has enabled companies in monitoring the exact location of systems through seamless GPS connectivity. Along with that, now they are also able acquire advanced data on various distinct parameters related to the temperature and conditions for pharmaceuticals and medical equipment throughout the entire journey. Such transparency allows all stakeholders to proactively detect for loopholes and initiate corrective measures in time to avoid any delays, counterfeiting or spoilage of products. 

Systech UniSecure is a comprehensive brand protection and product authentication solution that combines serialized unique identifiers, tamper-evident features, and IoT connectivity to ensure the authenticity and integrity of pharmaceutical products throughout the supply chain.

Advanced Traceability and Transparency with Blockchain

The pharmaceutical supply chain segment is undergoing rapid transformation empowered by the blockchain technology. Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) is being leveraged by service providers to create accurate records starting from procurement of raw materials to production and final distribution of products. This process enables companies is gaining confidence on the nature and authenticity of the end product and create an accurate supply chain mechanism that is devoid of any loopholes.  Through decentralization of data coming from various sources and then analyzing all of that accumulatively helps all stakeholders in taking informed decisions and avoid any discrepancies throughout the process.

In this regard, IBM offers a blockchain-based platform called IBM Blockchain Transparent Supply which is designed to enhance transparency, traceability, and trust in pharmaceutical supply chains. This platform leverages blockchain technology to create an immutable record of transactions and product movements, enabling stakeholders to track the provenance of pharmaceutical products from manufacturer to end consumer.

Informed Decisions with Data Analytics and AI

IT innovations are working wonders for the pharmaceutical industry regarding optimization of supply chain operations and multiplying their efficiency. Informed decision making with the use of real time data has been a challenge for the stakeholders until a few years ago but that has completely changed now. Large corporations across the world along with many new-age startups are now making use of advanced data analytics systems powered by AI and providing pharmaceutical companies with specified systems that strictly work on improving supply chain efficiency.

To give an example, Accenture offers a suite of services and solutions tailored to pharmaceutical companies, including those focused on supply chain optimization. Their offerings often include advanced analytics and AI capabilities to improve supply chain visibility, demand forecasting, inventory management, and distribution efficiency. 

Addressing Quality Assurance and Regulatory Compliances

Perfect compliance with all the regulatory guidelines seemed utterly problematic for pharmaceutical companies and challenges were spread out across the entire supply chain. With new-age innovations in track and trace technologies, companies are now able to overcome all regulatory compliance challenges in the supply chain management and maintain the required quality in products. All pharmaceutical manufacturers and suppliers need to follow the guidelines stated by the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO).

In this regard, TruTag Technologies specializes in the development of innovative solutions for product authentication and traceability, particularly in industries like pharmaceuticals and food processing. The company’s solution helps pharmaceutical companies combat issues like counterfeiting, ensuring product authenticity, and meeting all regulatory requirements related to serialization and track-and-trace. Their technology provides a robust means of product authentication and supply chain traceability, ultimately enhancing consumer safety and regulatory compliance.

Technology services providers are revolutionizing the pharmaceutical supply chain by driving efficiency and transparency through innovative solutions. IoT-enabled tracking and monitoring, blockchain technology, data analytics and AI-driven decision-making, collaborative platforms, and regulatory compliance solutions are taking supply chain management in the pharmaceutical sector to the next level. As the industry continues to incorporate these technologies, the impact of technology on the efficiency and transparency of the supply chain is set to grow which will be ultimately beneficial for all the stakeholders worldwide. 

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