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Pharma Execs: Supply Chain Visibility Critical

December 10, 2021

While approximately half of pharmaceutical organizations have already deployed visibility technology to track raw materials and to better plan their manufacturing, many are dissatisfied with the capabilities of their current solutions. As a result, more than nine in 10 executives plan to implement a more robust digital supply chain visibility (SCV) solution over the next 12 months. That’s according to “The Pharmaceutical Supply Chain: Closing the Visibility Gap,” a new report.

Many existing visibility solutions fail to account for the unique nature of pharmaceutical supply chains, including cold chain shipping, raw material availability, security of shipments in transit, stringent temperature and quality control measures and high inventory costs. COVID-19 further highlighted the acute need for visibility at every node along the pharmaceutical supply chain. According to Supply Chain Dive, vaccine losses due to temperature excursions cost around $34.1 billion annually, while the United Nations reports that greater supply chain visibility into the cold chain could have saved 1 billion vaccines during the COVID pandemic.

“Only end-to-end supply chain visibility and insights can provide pharmaceutical manufacturers and healthcare providers with the adaptability, precision and agility needed to provide the best patient care and to reduce waste,” said Mathew Elenjickal, founder and CEO of FourKites. “Proactive notifications and continuous monitoring of vaccines and other supplies are the best way for manufacturers and vendors to ensure a product doesn’t fall outside of recommended temperature ranges.”

To better understand the state of the pharmaceutical supply chain, FourKites partnered with Accenture to survey supply chain executives working in pharmaceuticals, biotech, cell and gene therapy, medtech and other related industries. Among the findings, 32% of executives identified product protection and the need to quarantine as their biggest pain points in transporting and storing goods, while nearly 50% cited security and temperature reporting as the biggest issues. Beyond real-time reports for temperature and security, the survey revealed many opportunities for supply chain visibility to help improve inbound challenges and operations.

“The survey results underscore the growing importance of end-to-end supply chain visibility in the pharma space to alleviate these ongoing pain points,” said Gregory Demitrack, Life Sciences, Strategy & Consulting Manager, Accenture. “Accenture was excited to partner on this research with FourKites, the pioneer and clear leader in real-time supply chain visibility solutions, which will serve as an important step in drawing attention to ways to alleviate these pain points.”

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