Most pharmaceutical companies have complex, underused and inefficient supply chains. Worse yet, they are ill-equipped to handle the kind of products that come down the pipeline. By 2020, many of the medicines produced by the industry will be specialist therapies that will require completely different techniques of manufacturing and distribution from those used to produce small molecules. In short, a radical overhaul is needed for the pharmaceutical supply chain. The question here is why pharmaceutical supply chains are being shortened and how can stakeholders work together to improve efficiency in pharmaceutical and medical device design, manufacturing and distribution?
Worldwide, various stress factors are facing the pharmaceutical industry, that are becoming more intense in most cases. It is necessary to look at the key developments influencing the market of tomorrow and consider their collective influence in order to overcome the roadblocks today. One key driver of shift is that with the rise of biological and genomic medicine, product life cycles are becoming shorter. As a consequence, the market is changing from traditional small molecule and solid-dose products to larger bio-engineered, complex and technical products. This leads to increased pressure on supply chains to offer sensitive medicines within tighter periods of time.
Manufacturers of pharmaceutical products need to invest in and incorporate truly global networks of production and distribution. In order to increase productivity and profitably, teams on the ground had to be able to create any solution, any problem, anytime, anywhere. For multiple teams, however, it is common at the moment to manage multiple international supplier sites.
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Centralizing the supply chain on a one-roof basis brings a wide range of benefits including, but not limited to, reduced risks and overheads, increased innovation, supply and compliance assurance, tighter quality control and local availability through global regional distribution sites. At the same time, these cost-saving and reliability gains will motivate the industry to fulfill its social responsibilities, such as the need to pioneer more sustainable manufacturing processes and produce more efficient and safer medicines that the whole world can afford.
Most successful pharmaceutical companies will be those that take the initiative and begin to build agile, efficient supply chains to sustain this vision, either virtual or physical. They will be those who use their supply chains to make a distinction their brands and 'go the final mile,' the currency of the future will be those who recognize information.