The COVID-19 pandemic ignited renewed efforts to accelerate the pace of digital transformation in the pharma supply chain. More than ever, companies are investing in tools that can improve supply chain efficiency and resilience and help them do a better job of navigating unexpected change. Cloud-based digital networking technology and multienterprise work management applications are helping pharma companies develop robust supply chain management systems that are customized to the unique requirements of their supplier networks. By harnessing the power of collaborative digital supply network technologies, stakeholders across the supply chain can eliminate inefficiencies and improve the way they coordinate shared work. These types of digital supply chain management systems also help companies predict and manage disruptions while increasing the flexibility and agility of their supply chains.
Supply chain management system as digital enabler
Forward-thinking firms are adopting a wide range of digital tools and technologies—which include internet of things (IoT) sensors, machine learning, and advanced supply chain data analytics. These tools help companies capture real-time data from across the supply chain and surface valuable insights they can use to inform decision making and optimize supply chain processes. A supply chain management system is what enables them to connect and integrate these tools, aggregate and analyze supply chain data, and obtain end-to-end supply chain visibility. It helps them monitor, track, and coordinate the flow of products through the value chain.
As the foundation of the supply chain management system, the digital supply network not only provides firms with greater visibility into their supply chains but helps foster collaboration across trading partners. It enables them to exchange data seamlessly and work closely with other stakeholders in the supply network to carry out more effective supply chain planning and supply chain quality management. When used in conjunction with multienterprise work management software, it can help organizations streamline and improve supplier risk management, demand forecasting, inventory management, transportation logistics, and many other areas of supply chain management.
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Benefits of using the digital supply network for supply chain management
Companies that use a digital supply network to integrate data from across the supply chain and develop and deploy a multienterprise supply chain management system realize a wealth of benefits, including:
- Increased supply chain transparency, accountability, and integrity.
- Greater accuracy in demand forecasting.
- Improved ability to mitigate the financial and operational impact of unforeseen delays and prevent disruptions in supply.
- Greater productivity as a result of continuous improvement in supply chain processes.
- Improved ability to comply with regulatory standards in heavily regulated industries.
Supply chain management in healthcare settings
One sector that can benefit significantly from a multienterprise supply chain management system is healthcare. The crisis of COVID-19 not only exposed vulnerabilities in medical supply chains, leaving hospitals scrambling to deal with shortages, but it has introduced new challenges to an already complex healthcare value chain. Health systems and the partners they depend on need supply chain management systems in place—systems that will help them quickly detect potential shifts in demand, delivery delays, and supply disruption to proactively mitigate shortages.
A robust supply chain management system enables health systems and their supply partners to track and monitor critical hospital supply chain metrics and leverage advanced analytics tools to improve hospital supply chain management. Hospitals can work closely with their supply partners to prevent delays in delivery and shortages in the medicines, medical supplies, and medical equipment they need to serve their patients. As a result, they are better able to protect the health and safety of their staff and the patients in their care. And they can work together towards building patient-centric supply networks that can handle the challenges of personalized medicines and other products that are adding new levels of complexity to healthcare supply chains.
Creating a supply chain management system for the healthcare sector
TraceLink's digital supply network and supplier relationship management tools were designed specifically for companies in pharma and healthcare. TraceLink's platform is the world's largest network of pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, retail pharmacies, and other players in the healthcare value chain. Connecting over 300,000 organizations worldwide, it enables seamless information exchange across healthcare supply chains, eliminating data silos and giving members the granular, end-to-end visibility they need to drive efficiencies in compliance, logistics, and other areas of supply chain management.
Member firms can rapidly onboard supply partners into new network ecosystems, share information and insights in real time via digital supply chain management systems, and orchestrate multienterprise business processes to ensure that every patient gets the medicines the need when and where they need them.
Find out how pharma and healthcare organizations are building resilience and agility in the aftermath of COVID-19. Download the IDC Whitepaper: Solving the Pharma Supply Chain Struggle.
Supply Chain Management System FAQs
What is a supply chain management system?
The most effective supply chain management systems leverage digital supply networks, cloud-based systems that bring all supply chain partners together on one digital network platform.
What are the advantages of using a digital supply network for supply chain management?
Firms that leverage digital supply networks facilitate seamless communication and collaboration with trading partners and obtain granular end-to-end visibility across their supply chains. It helps companies reduce operating costs, drive productivity, and improve the agility and resilience of their supply chains. Organizations can detect and respond faster to unforeseen delays, prevent disruption, and work together with partners to create tightly integrated and intelligent supply chains that can adapt fast to unexpected change.
What is supply chain management?
It refers to the many activities involved in planning, monitoring, coordinating, and optimizing the flow of goods through and processes in the supply chain—from the design and manufacturing of products to their delivery to consumers. It involves the activities of supply chain planning, which includes designing supply chains and forecasting demand; sourcing and procurement, or selecting suppliers and managing supplier relationships; production, or the manufacturing, quality testing, and packaging of products; inventory control, which includes tracking and optimization of inventory; and logistics, which includes warehousing and transportation management.