What does it take to build a highly effective supply chain management system for the life sciences industry? Traditionally, pharmaceutical companies relied heavily on manual processes—phone calls, faxes, emails, and spreadsheets—to communicate with trading partners across the end-to-end supply chain. That's in addition to costly point-to-point data integrations with partners that are difficult to scale across the supply chain.
Today, there is a better way. A digital supply network brings your entire supply chain together on a secure, cloud-based platform that scales with your business while reducing or eliminating clunky manual processes and data integration headaches. And those are just some of the benefits you can expect to achieve.
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What are the benefits of a digital supply network?
The pharmaceutical industry is going through a sea change—and the old ways of exchanging information with supply chain partners are no longer sufficient. A host of factors—things like the proliferation of serialization and track and trace regulations in countries around the globe; the increase in supply chain disruptions resulting from pandemics and other natural disasters; and the growing complexity of the end-to-end pharma supply chain—all point to the need for digitalization and innovation. That's where a digital supply network comes in. Key benefits include:
Improve your supply chain visibility.
Achieve real-time visibility into the production and delivery of products as they make their way into patients' hands. Visibility problems threaten your ability to identify and respond to supply chain problems before lead to major disruptions. They also stand in the way of your plans to make demand-focused, patient-centric supply chain planning a reality.
Make it easier to share information with trading partners.
Seamlessly communicate with your upstream and downstream supply chain partners without the expense of point-to-point data integration projects. With a digital supply network, onboarding is easy, and you don't have to worry about things like your partners' preferred file formats and naming conventions. The network handles all of that for you.
Boost your supply chain resiliency and agility.
When all of your partners are on the same network, the result is a significant increase in supply chain agility and responsiveness. That means your company will be better prepared to identify and quickly respond to supply chain issues and get products delivered to patients on time, in full.
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In addition to providing a platform for simplified regulatory compliance and seamless information-sharing with business partners, a digital supply network creates opportunities for significant gains in operational efficiency.
By leveraging the power of multienterprise business applications that run on the shared digital supply network, pharmaceutical companies and their business partners can streamline and innovate on business processes—and more easily track key performance metrics to identify areas where business process improvements are needed.
A digital supply network enables a wide range of opportunities for operational efficiency improvements, including:
- Faster recalls
- A reduction in drug shortages
- Fewer supply chain disruptions
- Improved demand forecast accuracy
- Faster identification and resolution of supplier issues
Digital supply networks provide visibility into real-time data shared with supply chain partners, so you can collaborate more closely; make informed decisions about inventory requirements; and orchestrate desired patient outcomes.
The future of pharma
When combined with a digital supply network, technologies like the internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence, and machine learning can also create opportunities to increase supply chain visibility and create new innovations for the future.
For example, by placing IoT sensors strategically throughout the supply chain and transmitting information about product location, temperature, and condition back into the digital supply network, pharma companies can boost security, reduce counterfeiting and theft, and more easily monitor environmentally sensitive products.
Digital supply network FAQs
How can a digital supply network help with the patient-centric supply chain?
Pharmaceutical companies have traditionally taken an outside-in, supply-focused approach to managing healthcare supply chain. This has resulted in the need to carry large stockpiles of inventory to adapt to sudden changes in demand. With a digital supply network, pharma companies and their supply chain partners—suppliers, contract manufacturers, wholesalers, logistics providers, and dispensers—can seamlessly collaborate and share information. That increased visibility and collaboration makes it easier to read demand signals, adopt patient demand-driven strategies, and ultimately build a more patient-centric supply chain. It can also help pharma companies increase agility and reduce the need to stockpile inventory.
Why is a digital supply network important for pharmaceutical supply chain security?
Drug counterfeiting, theft, and diversion are problems that have long plagued the global pharmaceutical industry—and countries around the world responded by introducing new serialization and track and trace regulations, designed to boost security and enable closer monitoring of products as they make their way across the supply chain. A digital supply network serves as the foundation for track and trace and serialization compliance. The network also creates opportunities for enhanced supply chain monitoring with IoT sensors and faster identification of security threats through closer collaboration with partners.
How does the cloud make a digital supply network easier to implement?
By leveraging the power of cloud computing, pharma companies and their supply chain partners no longer need to be concerned with expensive and time-consuming data integration projects to build a supply chain network. You simply log onto the platform and begin collaborating with supply chain partners.
How can a digital supply network help with pharmaceutical cold chain management?
With the help of IoT sensors, and the enhanced information-sharing capabilities that a digital network provides, pharmaceutical companies, logistics providers, and other supply chain partners can closely monitor products to help ensure that cold chain and other environmental requirements are met. Digital technology makes it possible to intervene quickly should there be a break in the cold chain, increasing the chance that a shipment of drugs remains safe and efficacious.