Indian pharma is looking for reliability, compliance and high-end visibility across the supply chain, said Vishal Barnabas, vice president, consumer & manufacturing business, Mahindra Logistics.
There has been a significant increase in the complexity of pharma supply logistics in the recent years. The Covid pandemic further augmented that complexity in managing pharmaceuticals going by the raw material distribution and scattered manufacturing across the globe. The coordination across all these touch points is what makes pharma supply chain entirely complex, he added.
What is required to manage pharma supply chain is the completely customised solutions. This is because of the challenges faced by pharma supply chain include disruptions, inventory management, and compliance with regulations. Of late, disruptions with geopolitical conflicts further add to the supply chain pressures. All these instabilities result in shortage of raw materials and manufacturing gets disrupted. Besides, inventory of pharma is almost handled like perishable goods. Expiry dates and temperature control issues add up to the difficulties, he said.
From a perspective of supply chain logistic players, the biggest challenge in inventory is balancing supply and demand. For example, forecasting supply chains and the ability to maintain these at optimal is one of the biggest challenges. This is where technology adoption comes to play like artificial intelligence and tools for demand forecasting, Barnabas told Pharmabiz.
Companies like Mahindra Logistics adhere to stringent Good Distribution Practices (GDP) norms. Our high quality control mechanisms, documentation, coordination are in sync. In technology apart from AI, big data analytics enhance visibility, chatbots, IoT (Internet of Things) devices and RFID (radio frequency identification) tags are deployed to enable quick responses, he said.
Since pharmaceuticals are known for their short shelf life, here extensive product movements are self-controlled to spot the goods in the supply chain system. Even some of the vehicles have got smart locks which are GPS connected indicate the exact location regularly. Also it controls pilferages as these are all operated by apps, noted Barnabas.
In an effort to stay ahead of the curve, we have an incubation programme for start-ups to come up with novel ideas. Our programme ‘Catapult’ see us engaging with start-ups that work on blockchain. Going forward we will experiment with their products and if viable will commercialise it to be deployed across various our businesses, he said.
The company’s recently started its international operations to Dubai. But is a key players on-road in India. Its warehouses are on long-lease with controlled areas, managed with technology.
Primary many Indian pharma companies are still not using logistic companies or controlled temperature routes. We are in talks with companies to highlight the indispensability of trace and track, high-end visibility on movement throughout the supply chain, he said.
Emerging trends in pharma supply chain are sighted as companies are already looking out for reliability and compliance. With the Make in India and production linked incentive (PLI) scheme pharma companies are encouraged to consider integrated solutions supply chain solutions in a quality controlled environment. Therefore the future is upbeat in pharma supply chain logistics, said Barnabas.
Friday, June 9, 2023