Before the eruption of the COVID-19 pandemic, pharmaceutical companies and their supply network partners had already been struggling with the question of how to increase visibility, agility, and resiliency across the end-to-end supply chain. Then the pandemic hit and both exacerbated and illuminated those long-standing supply chain problems. The industry responded by placing renewed focus on proper drug supply management. What will it take to avoid drug shortages and build a more resilient, patient-driven supply chain? The key to reaching these goals and improving drug supply management at your organization lies in digital supply network and multienterprise work management technology.
Forward-thinking companies are taking this opportunity to reassess and reimagine the future of global medical supply chains and invest in digital supply network technologies to transform drug supply management and improve the agility and resilience of the pharma value chain. Digitalized drug supply management is one way firms can prepare for both the challenges and opportunities presented by the next pandemic or whatever unexpected event the future is likely to bring.
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The importance of drug supply management
The goal of drug supply management is to maintain the safety, security, and reliability of pharmaceutical supply. When done right, it helps reduce the risk of drug shortages and accelerate the recovery of pharma supply chains after disruptions occur. It also helps ensure that healthcare providers, pharmacies, and the patients and customers they serve get the medications they need when and where they need them.
Drug supply management involves the planning and management of all activities involved in the sourcing, procurement, warehousing, distribution, and delivery of medications. These activities include but are not limited to demand forecasting, raw materials management, inventory management, manufacturing and storage facility maintenance, distribution network management, shipment tracking, and supply chain risk management. Effective drug supply management requires a high level of coordination and collaboration among supply chain partners and can help improve supply chain agility and resilience.
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Trends in healthcare impacting drug supply management
Two major trends that are impacting drug supply management are the growing emphasis on demand-drive patient-centricity in the healthcare sector and the rise of personalized and specialized medicines.
With increasing use of precision medicine and targeted biologics like gene and cell therapies, which require extensive pharmaceutical quality control and stringent adherence to logistics requirements, drug supply management is being forced to adapt and evolve—to create not just a more patient-centric pharmaceutical supply chain but one that is reliable, responsive, and agile.
The future of drug supply management: the digital pharma supply network
One of the key technologies that is helping pharmaceutical firms build patient-centered supply chains is the digital supply network, a cloud-based platform environment that connects all members of a pharmaceutical supply chain. Digital supply networks connect pharma companies with upstream and downstream trading partners, to increase visibility and collaboration and facilitate real-time data exchange. Partners on the network obtain greater visibility into their end-to-end supply chain, allowing them to identify and resolve bottlenecks and potential disruptions early.
Using digital networking technology for drug supply management can contribute to more efficient and accurate forecasting of demand, improved inventory management, better mitigation of risk, enhanced logistics optimization, and accelerated issue resolution. And when combined with multienterprise work management software, which fosters collaboration through the orchestration of shared workflows, stakeholders can work together to make pharmaceutical industry supply chains truly patient-centric and resilient.
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Digitalized drug supply management
While interest in the digital transformation of supply chains predates the pandemic, firms in multiple industries have been spurred on by the effects of COVID-19 to invest in new technology that they can use to strengthen and improve the agility of their supply chains. By adopting digital supply network technology, pharma companies can streamline and optimize drug supply management and begin creating a fully connected and resilient pharma supply chain that can withstand unexpected disruption. They can build supply chains that are able to not just cope but thrive in times of heightened unpredictability and take steps to help ensure a consistent and affordable supply of medicines to global populations.
Drug Supply Management FAQs
What is drug supply management?
Drug supply management refers to the planning and management of all activities involved in the sourcing, procurement, warehousing, distribution, and delivery of pharmaceuticals from the supplier of raw materials to the patient. It helps to ensure that medicines are available when and where healthcare providers and patients need them.
What activities are involved in drug supply management?
Some of the components of effective drug supply management include risk management, demand forecasting, raw materials management, manufacturing and storage facility maintenance, inventory management, distribution network management, and logistics optimization.
How are digital technologies impacting drug supply management?
Digital technologies are helping to streamline and improve drug supply management processes. Digital supply networks and other network-driven technologies make it easier for trading partners to monitor and manage pharmaceutical supply by providing them with greater visibility into the end-to-end supply chain, facilitating real-time data exchange and continuous information flows, and fostering collaboration through shared applications and workflows.