The changes currently affecting the pharmaceuticals supply chain appear poised to continue. Advancing technology will keep boosting and improving supply chain efficiency and transparency. The companies that take advantage of these shifts stand to gain.
FREMONT, CA: The emergence of e-commerce is one of several changes transforming the pharmaceutical supply chain. Others comprise of the technological advances like more significant deployment of Internet of Things (IoT) devices, changing regulations, and the drive to more personalized medicine.
Before achieving supply chain excellence, most businesses will need to address several obstacles. One of them is the difficulty of accurately forecasting the demand, particularly for innovative products that often take years to gain regulatory approval.
Even for established products, accurate demand forecasting is hardly a given. It typically needs assembling the data from a lot of other sources, like the historical transaction volume, sales forecasts, and supplier input. Data is often outdated by the time forecasts are finalized, pointing to inaccuracies.
Inaccurate forecasting also reduces inventory management. For instance, organizations using legacy technology and outdated data may not know that they can reroute stock from one warehouse to another that may need it. This blind spot can mean excess inventory in one location ties up working capital, while stock shortages at another eat into margins.
The enhancement of e-commerce increases the complexity of demand forecasting and inventory management. Pharma firms will need to develop forecasts and inventory specific to this channel. The changing regulatory environment also is remaking the pharmaceutical supply chain.
Data processing speed presents another obstacle. While the private chains typical in supply chain and logistics are much faster than the public chains used for cryptocurrencies, it's typically difficult for a company to entrust its data to another company's private blockchain. Public blockchains enable collaboration and scalability but have slower data processing speeds.
The interest in personalized medicine is understandable, as it should improve patient outcomes. The expanding number of treatments boosts supply chain complexity.