86% of pharma and biotech companies plan to invest in ‘digitally agile’ supply chains in the next 12 months

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86% of pharma and biotech companies say they plan to become more digitally agile, according to a new survey of 100 senior pharmaceutical executives.

The survey, conducted by LogiPharma – the world’s leading annual conference covering pharmaceutical and medical device supply chains – asked global heads and directors of supply chain, logistics, procurement and IT how their organisations were upgrading their existing supply chain network to become more digitally agile.

Allowing logistics networks to be flexible and adapt to rapid changes and new innovations, including responding flexibly to geopolitical events and incorporating AI into networks were examples of how pharmaceutical and biotech companies say they will be enhancing their supply chains over the next year.

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The number one challenge in building a digital supply chain was gaining visibility on the data and digital maturity roadmap, ensuring organisations can understand how digital transformation can help them recognise and plan for future challenges.

“One of the biggest focuses for our organisation has been utilising supply chain mapping solutions and embedding AI into that solution,” Peter Stolba, Vice President, Business, said.

“We have recently partnered with an external provider that has effectively mapped our tier one through to tier three suppliers. They have then overlaid AI to manage any risks that take place.”

“Should any delays occur at a port, or airport, we are seeing real-time alerts and can respond sooner. Getting supplies has been incredibly difficult over the past two years and knowing immediately how to react to disruptions in the market has been essential.”

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Learning from the pandemic 

The global pandemic and geopolitical events such as the war in Ukraine have reinforced the need for operational resilience, particularly across global supply chains for vital products like pharmaceuticals.

Those surveyed said most work was needed in data management (22%), to improve the operational resilience, followed by temperature controls (21%) and investing in digital agility (18%).

61% felt that the most important factor for strengthening future supply chains was closer relationships with their suppliers to improve end-to-end visibility.

“I think the pandemic has fueled the need for data visibility and the justification for investment into building a more robust digital supply chain. It is important that we leverage the information we have, and make key decisions based on our data points,” Stolba adds.