One of the biggest obstacles pharmaceutical companies face today is a lack of upstream and downstream supply chain visibility. As a result, many pharma companies lack the ability to respond quickly to unexpected changes or issues or sudden shifts in demand.
But the news isn't all bad. With the help of a cloud-based digital supply network and multienterprise work management software, pharma companies can gain end-to-end supply chain visibility and avoid minor problems before they become major supply chain disruptions.
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The supply chain visibility challenge
Traditional enterprise software systems—like enterprise resource planning (ERP) and quality management systems (QMS)—serve important purposes within the four walls of your company. But these legacy software systems were not designed to support shared work that spans internal teams and external suppliers. As a result, pharma companies are heavily dependent on disconnected and difficult-to-track manual processes—phone calls, emails, text messages, and spreadsheets—to communicate and collaborate with supply chain partners. This lack of visibility severely threatens efforts to build a more agile and responsive supply chain.
By making a commitment to supply chain digital transformation, pharma companies are taking the first step toward increasing supply chain visibility and reducing the number of supply chain disruptions that threaten on-time, in-full product delivery objectives. High visibility can also help you reveal new opportunities to improve processes, save resources, and boost operational efficiency
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The benefits of improved visibility
The increased supply chain visibility that pharma companies achieve by leveraging a digital supply chain network can lead to significant business benefits. These include:
- Increased patient-centricity
By improving supply chain visibility, pharma companies can make the shift from outside-in, supply-driven strategies to patient-centric, demand-driven strategies. This can lead to better inventory decisions, greater agility in the face of changing conditions, and improved patient outcomes.
- Data-driven decisions
Working with partners on a digital network not only boosts visibility, but it enables you to share and analyze data more easily, so you can make better decisions about things like inventory needs and business process improvements.
- Greater resilience
Increased visibility can help you avoid or mitigate supply chain disruptions, like those caused by pandemics and other natural disasters, geopolitical events, and unexpected supplier incidents.
The cost of low visibility
As supplier networks have grown larger and more complex, the need to achieve end-to-end supply chain visibility has never been greater. A digital supply chain management system that enables visibility across enterprises can help you avoid problems like unexpected disruptions and the need to carry excess amounts of inventory to adapt to sudden shifts in demand. Companies that fail to adopt digital supply networks and supplier management systems may find themselves falling behind the competition.
Supply chain visibility FAQs
How do you achieve supply chain visibility?
Increased supply chain visibility can be achieved when all business partners work together on a cloud-based digital network platform. Visibility can be further enhanced with the help of network-based multienterprise work management applications and internet of things (IoT) technologies.
How can increased supply chain visibility improve supply chain optimization?
Collecting data about where resources are being spent and how products are flowing from trading partner to trading partner helps give supply chain operations teams the data needed to make better decisions about how best to optimize the supply chain.
How can increased supply chain visibility decrease overhead?
Higher levels of supply chain visibility enables companies to collect the information they need to optimize business processes and reduce shortages and supply chain disruptions, and create more accurate demand forecasts. The result is lower overhead and a healthier bottom line.
What reduces supply chain visibility?
Disconnected information systems and manual business processes are the major obstacles standing in the way of increased supply chain visibility—and a digital supply network can help you gain and end-to-end view of the supply chain.