December 18, 2023 | Supply Chain Strategy
Not so long ago, life sciences companies found themselves struggling amid supply shortages of critical medicines and pandemic-induced demand surges.
Given the prevailing uncertainty in the business landscape, streamlining supply chain operations has emerged as a key priority not only for these companies but also for the industry at large.
Behind medical advancements and scientific discoveries lies a vast, intricate supply chain centered on orchestrating specialized goods to enable research that saves lives.
From clinical trials to commercialization, the life sciences product journey traverses countless touch points spanning logistics, regulations, manufacturing and delivery. Mastering complexity at scale makes supply chain excellence an imperative.
In this blog post, we’ll explore five of the most pressing supply chain challenges for life science firms and discuss pragmatic approaches companies can take to overcome these obstacles and build flexible and resilient supply chains.
Few sectors face more demand variability than life sciences, from public health crises triggering surges for vaccines to new therapy adoption shifting rapidly. Over- or underestimating customer needs brings severe consequences from either stockouts of critical medicines or write-downs on expired goods.
By integrating advanced analytics and AI-powered supply chain platforms to sense demand shifts, teams can work to limit their risk exposure. Evaluating seasonal demand patterns, therapy life cycles and competitive landscape changes enables life science firms to forecast more accurately and adjust readiness in response to demand scenarios. It is essential to be able to meet demand spikes while optimizing safety stock buffers.
Balancing inventory requires real-time visibility and intelligence on the precise locations and conditions of goods. Without real-time visibility of shipments and warehouse stocks, movement delays can jeopardize supply chain managers’ ability to track and redirect products, if needed.
Preventing vital medicine supply gaps relies on supply chain transparency.
Sensor data from mobile devices can enable tracking of environmental conditions like temperature and humidity throughout global transport routes down to the last mile to verify integrity. Predictive ETAs allow proactive allocation balancing. As stakeholders gain common sight lines, they can work more quickly to address deviations securing product availability.
Life sciences companies must be vigilant to meet stringent and ever-evolving regulations and health authority approvals pre-market, while still maintaining the ability to respond swiftly post-launch to address any safety concerns globally. Non-compliance risks patient harm, legal jeopardy and brand reputation.
By centralizing regulatory change monitoring, submission management and restricted party screening, life sciences organizations are able to reinforce rigorous governance across distributed teams interacting with global license bodies.
Medicines and biologics remain highly vulnerable to environmental factors during global distribution, requiring meticulous cold chain integrity. Excursions outside stringent temperature ranges can completely degrade product stability. Thus, exacting control and verification throughout climate-controlled transport and storage is non-negotiable.
It’s critical to be able to orchestrate a connected network through a modern, AI-powered supply chain platform that provides real-time monitoring of refrigerated containers and trucks for anomalies, so that teams can intervene and take action to mitigate damage.
Successfully developing and distributing life-changing therapies eventually hinges on the trust and transparency forged across interconnected partner ecosystems. Ensuring all links in extended, outsourced value chains maintain the same uncompromising quality and security standards as internal teams drives much-needed supply chain resilience.
Deep collaboration around shared business continuity objectives with logistics providers, manufacturers, labs, distributors and healthcare networks helps teams collaborate with partners to mitigate risks and respond to disruptions. Conducting routine risk-readiness drills evaluates and strengthens vigilance.