Experts’ Whitepaper: The Tech That Is Required To Address Bio Pharma Supply Chain Challenges

Worldwide supply chain challenges are still heavily impacting Bio Pharma companies as a result of the fallout from the pandemic and include shortages, delays, and ongoing disruption. Amid the turmoil, what should organisations do?

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Wiesbaden, DE. 26th September 2023  With supply chain issues one of the greatest threats to the Bio Pharma industry, Panasonic Connect Europe has collated the views of leading industry experts on how technology can address these challenges. The results from a Digital Think Tank Roundtable with leading Bio Pharma companies have been captured in a new whitepaper. 

Topics tabled included; how supply chain shortages in pharmaceutical production impact supply chain issues related to clinical trials, including the R&D of products, and how risks can be mitigated. Delegates also discussed the importance of sustainability objectives, and whether sustainability influences decision-making processes, and the measures organisations have implemented.

Ten key takeaways summarised in the whitepaper include:

Why improving collaboration is long overdue and how there needs to be more cross-industry pollination of ideas around utilising technology. Why creating skills velocity and digital training to adapt to the new technology landscape is a challenge and how the industry should adapt and reshape processes based on new technologies.

The vital role that data and predictive analytics play to better understand raw material requirements. How IT solutions help organisations to aggregate disparate information, providing the dynamic real-time visibility they need to power their end-to-end supply chains.

How Bio Pharma companies must understand the level of risk associated with distribution, with all participants agreeing that focusing on cost reduction and lowering inventory levels is risky for large-scale health challenges like the pandemic. Going forward, companies must make decisions around inventory by determining the level of risk associated with key products.

The conversation homed in on how organisations must ensure that the entire supply chain is involved in the end-to-end process right up until the drug reaches the patient, with everyone understanding their respective roles.

Other topics discussed included coping with shorter timescales for clinical trials, agreeing alternative supply sources, and defining a clear manufacturing strategy.

Edin Osmanovic, Head of Supply Chain Solutions at Panasonic Connect Europe, said: “It’s an increasingly volatile and complex world for Bio Pharma companies who, after the turmoil of the pandemic, must now reimagine their supply chains to ensure business continuity and support expansion. New technologies such as AI and digital transformation, as well as a new hybrid environment, are paving the way for more flexibility and collaboration across the industry. But it is also difficult to know where to start or what types of technology to leverage. This is where an experienced technology provider, like Panasonic Connect, who really understands the industry and the issues, can help. Likewise, we find these types of discussions also inform our knowledge and they are a vital part of our ongoing strategy.”

One point raised was the importance of cost-to-benefit trial calculations and, although World Health Organisation data indicates that the number of clinical trials in progress has started to decrease in line with pre-pandemic levels, this could very easily switch course again, which is where such calculations are critical.

The conversation concluded by talking about cooling in the supply chain, which remains a big challenge for the industry. As a global manufacturer, Panasonic has created a number of innovative products and solutions as part of its “VIXELL” brand, to help address renewable energy and sustainability. One such solution is a reusable cooling box for the rollout of temperature-sensitive products, such as vaccines. The box is not only recyclable, but reduces the use of dry ice, a hazardous material that requires special safety measures. Instead of simply selling cooled boxes, Panasonic has introduced an international deposit system that incentivises pharmaceutical manufacturers to ensure boxes are returned for subsequent use.

For more information about the Panasonic whitepaper “Supply Chain Shortages in Bio Pharma – The Role of Technology”

For more information on Panasonic Connect Europe’s range of vacuum-insulated VIXELL cooled transportation boxes

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