“Reducing the risk to supply chains” – How pharmaceutical manufacturers can confront complex supply challenges with digital transformation
SummaryThe pace at which pharmaceutical manufacturers have embraced digitalisation has accelerated over the past two years with many adopting Pharma 4.0 principles in line with the urgent need to drive speed to market and be ready for demand spikes through the pandemic and beyond.
- Author Company: AspenTech
- Author Name: Kelly Doering
- Author Website: https://www.aspentech.com/
The pace at which pharmaceutical manufacturers have embraced digitalisation has accelerated over the past two years with many adopting Pharma 4.0 principles in line with the urgent need to drive speed to market and be ready for demand spikes through the pandemic and beyond. The rate at which Covid-19 vaccines were developed and manufactured has been impressive thanks to the innovative ways pharmaceutical enterprises and medical bodies, across private and public sectors, have been able to work together. The sector, which has traditionally been slower to embrace new ways of working will never be the same again, especially as there are now higher expectations.
The much-heralded success of the vaccine roll-out has certainly put a premium on speed to market for high efficacy pharma products and this is set to remain a top business goal. To achieve this aim, organisations will have to proactively and efficiently manage their suppliers and contract partners, while producing drugs consistently, efficiently, safely and profitably, across product lines and in all market conditions.
Delivering may not be easy, as the industry looks to navigate the shift towards personalised medicine, the increase in complex modalities and biologics. In parallel, there will always be the need to secure reliable and agile suppliers..
A focus on the supply chain will continue to be important. Delays and bottlenecks within the chain, or if a regulatory or quality issue such as with raw materials occurs, invariably requires pharmaceutical manufacturers to look for a secondary source. This can be challenging, particularly when short notice is given, adding a significant level of risk to supply chain operations.
Layer this with the inevitable issues such as the failure of manufacturing equipment, or the inefficient use of asset utilisation, while simultaneously dealing with ever-increasing pressure to quickly bring products to market to meet growing demands and the challenges start to mount.
The president of leading Life-Science analyst and strategic advisory firm Axendia, Daniel R Matlis said: “The path forward in an ever-changing world calls for pharma manufacturers to fuel their digital transformation journeys with a holistic approach that optimises outcomes across the pharma Value Network.”
No doubt this approach will shape the future of the pharmaceutical sector by allowing pharma enterprises and their partners to work together to meet market demands, manage the increasing complexity of supply chain processes and prosper in market conditions with consistent pressure to deliver products at lower costs. The result will be predictable and profitable performance.
The new pharma Value Network
The pharma Value Network, (a phrase coined by Axendia), encapsulates the idea that the traditional linear supply chain is evolving to becomea resilient network. The modernised Value Network enables optimisation across every decision point, from research and development through to manufacturing and distribution to consumers, essentially de-risking the supply chain, and offering opportunities to lower costs, preserve value and help patients.
In this approach, each pharmaceutical manufacturer digitally connects with their business partners across production, distribution and delivery, really harnessing the power of data accessibility. With end-to-end data access and visibility in place, there is a greater opportunity to analyse, monitor and optimise processes using industrial artificial intelligence and integrated software solutions. Pharmaceutical companies will have a greater ability to improve their results at every single stage of the production process, delivering an impact greater than the sum of its parts.
“Life-Science companies that leverage a unified, modern platform that improves product quality and business outcomes will also become part of a pharma Value Network that offers unmatched advantages for ensuring the security, safety and supply of high-quality products,” states Matlis.
Looking ahead, the challenge of improving feedback loops, measuring results with more complete data and tying results to real-world impact must be addressed and handled seamlessly. The efficacy of therapies will be assessed using richer contextual data by augmenting clinical trial data with real-world data.
Taking the right path
Optimising the manufacture and distribution of products across the pharma value chain network using an interconnected and holistic approach to digital transformation represents the right path forward in an ever-changing world. By using this approach to harnesses the power of enabling digital technologies, the security of the supply and delivery of medicines to the patients that need them will be ensured.