Tech Companies are Rapidly Innovating their Supply Chains. Can Pharma Catch Up?

The Pharma Supply Chain of the future is expected to be faster, more flexible, more granular, more accurate, and more efficient.​

As Pharma companies compete more closely on meeting changing patient needs, Supply Chain must reassess how it helps to realize corporate visions and learns from innovation in other industries.  

Evolving patient needs and new technological trends are driving the need for change in supply chain​

The Pharma industry has built a complex beast when it comes to Supply Chain.  

Supply Chain has been primarily focused on delivering high quality medicine to patients on time. As patient needs have become more global, Supply Chain has focused on integrating partners, such as CMOs, into a complex network of manufacturing, labeling, and shipping.  Quality has been ensured through inefficiencies in cost and complex redundancies across the supply chain. 

As the healthcare industry grapples with how to deliver personalized medicines in all corners of the world while meeting increasing regulatory scrutiny, new technology is pushing the possibilities for supply chain into exciting and unknown territory.  

The technology of tomorrow is becoming the technology of today
As predictive analytics, robotic process automation, and AI-based tools are trialed and integrated into existing processes and companies race to be the first to successfully transform.   

Leaders in supply chain also face significant internal pressure to reduce complexity and waste in order to bring down costs, while improving their service and reducing inventory.  

Therefore, supply chain is facing the question of how to engage in an end-to-end transformation of value creation and the challenge of an all-in implementation.

What are the implications for leadership?

Better understanding the value drivers behind products and portfolios means stronger differentiation between strategies to meet different needs. Leaders need to be able to look across the entire system, understand these differentiators, and adapt approaches across the supply chain to create value.

Supply chains will be able to respond more rapidly to changes and begin to predict demand fluctuations when the right technology is implemented holistically.  Leaders need a working understanding of new technology in order to be able to evaluate new tools based in AI, predictive analytics, and process automation. 

As the role of data grows, the use of metrics will become critical to understanding where value is created in real-time, what is driving costs, and how the supply chain performs relative to benchmarking data.  Leaders will learn to think using new measures of value and work with new analytics platforms as roles and capabilities evolve. 

The creation of industry-wide standards will help to create more patient safety as traceability increases.  Stakeholder management and negotiation are key skills necessary to engaging in their alignment. 

The shift to more collaborative work with partners will create opportunities to align more closely on how to create competitive advantage for all members of a supply chain.  Leaders will need to bring their partnering abilities to the next level. 

Systems thinking and analytical mindsets

Evaluating emerging technologies for business

Understanding new value drivers and metrics

Stakeholder management in complex networks

Partnering with internal and external customers