The most effective business leaders in the pharmaceutical industry make ongoing supply chain optimization a key component of both long-term supply chain planning and daily supply chain operations.
The phrase "supply chain optimization" refers to all the steps an organization takes—including the tools, technologies, and business processes it leverages—to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of an end-to-end supply chain, from sourcing and manufacturing to distribution to patients. And the tools and techniques business leaders use to optimize supply chains are evolving fast.
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Optimizing for a patient-centric supply chain
The majority of pharma companies today are working toward the goal of building patient-centric supply chains. That means undertaking supply chain optimization efforts that enable a transition from inside-out, supply-driven strategies, to leveraging digital networking technologies to more accurately read patient demand signals, make more precise decisions about inventory needs, and orchestrate positive patient outcomes.
Each event that occurs in the pharmaceutical supply chain creates data—and ultimately, business insights—that can be analyzed and used to help companies bolster supply chain optimization plans. Pharma companies that do this well can reduce the need to carry excess inventory, avoid or mitigate supply chain disruptions, and better serve the needs of patients.
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Tools and technologies
Tools and technologies like digital supply networks and multienterprise work management applications that bring supply chains together in a shared digital environment can help you boost supply chain visibility and achieve new levels of supply chain optimization.
Internet of things sensors can also be placed strategically throughout the supply chain and monitored in real time, enabling pharma companies to identify new opportunities for supply chain optimization.
Agile supply chains
Another key goal of supply chain optimization is ensuring supply chain supply chain agility. That means building supply chains that can respond more quickly to sudden shifts in demand and mitigate minor problems before they become major supply chain disruptions.
The Agile Supply Chain Credo from TraceLink is a technology-agnostic and vendor-agnostic set of guiding principles—a North Star—that can help you build a more agile and patient-centric supply chain.
Supply Chain Optimization FAQs:
How do you optimize a supply chain?
Some examples of ways to optimize a supply chain include working to increase the level of collaboration with upstream and downstream trading partners; investing in digital supply chain network technologies that increase supply chain visibility and agility; and taking advantage of serialization data to discover ways to improve quality of products and business processes.
Is supply chain optimization all about speeding things up?
Supply chain optimization is about making decisions that enable pharma companies to deliver products on time, in full. These decisions often lead to faster, more effective supply chains. But sometimes broken business processes require organizations to take a step back before moving forward.
Is an optimal supply chain the one that produces the lowest costs?
The most effective procurement and supplier relationship management teams focus on more than price alone when making purchasing decisions—because things like long-term value and ensuring product quality are more important. This lesson holds true for all supply chain optimization plans. Price is important but it's just one of many factors to consider.
How does supply chain optimization help with supply chain risk management?
Digital supply network technologies can help you optimize the supply chain so you can avoid or mitigate all types of risks, from quality defects and manufacturing problems, to security threats like drug theft, counterfeiting, and diversion.