Supply ChainDecember 5, 2022

Redesign the Life Sciences Supply Chain for Resilience and Innovation

Supply chain management has been practiced for decades, but the ability to effectively implement a strategy that meets business goals has been continually challenged. To overcome this, many companies are undoing previous operational strategies as well as adopting new technology and processes.
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Tom Muth

Change and disruption are an inevitable part of business now. For the life sciences industry, this was made clear in the wake of COVID-19 when companies worldwide worked tirelessly to swiftly develop vaccines and treatments. The pace of change is only intensifying, with growing pressures to advance treatments for various other health issues[1]—not to mention the rising demand for product diversification and increasingly complex and personalized therapies. Ensuring future competitiveness and relevancy requires organizations to embrace change and completely reimagine their supply chains for resilience and innovation.

Here, we explore the trends and critical competencies that all forward-thinking life science companies should address and consider in order to facilitate supply chain transformation, better anticipate disruption and drive optimized operations across a global value network.

Supply Chain for Resilience and Innovation

Supply chain management has been practiced for decades, but the ability to effectively implement a strategy that meets business goals has been continually challenged. To overcome this, many companies are undoing previous operational strategies as well as adopting new technology and processes. Here are some potentially beneficial trends and the implications around them.

  1. Supply chain re-integration: Over the disruptive last few years, countries have been focused on ensuring supply within their borders and urging manufacturers to develop risk management plans to promote a stronger, more resilient drug supply chain—especially in an age of rising trade conflicts. However, companies still suffer from disparate systems and organizational silos that limit their potential for supply chain re-integration.
  2. Optimization: Optimization and artificial intelligence (AI) offer the ability to automate analysis in complex supply chains, allowing teams to effectively expedite decision-making. Nevertheless, organizations still struggle to determine what real-world benefits would be compared to the marketing hype.
  3. Virtual twins and universes: By having a connected model of end-to-end operations from supplier to customer, organizations can analyze and experiment with new and improved strategies across the supply chain. However, the full realization of the path to this virtual experience is rather complex.

Four key competencies for resilience

The above trends, among others, provide an avenue for life sciences companies to thrive and innovate amidst disruption. With the right business strategy and solution, they support these four overarching goals or fundamental competencies:

  1. Visibility to the overall operational status of the supply chain—drastically helping manufacturers in the pharma industry to develop contingency plans with confidence.
  2. Traceability for each step of the production and its processes. This will help companies achieve regulatory compliance and meet the quality expectations for customers.
  3. Agility towards production processes, workforce and equipment utilization and the decision-making process. This is dependent upon an understanding of what is happening and evaluating possible plans to determine the best course of action moving forward.
  4. Resiliency to endure disruption and the ability to recover quickly. This requires understanding and the knowledge to create longer-term strategies so that viable options are available when challenges occur.

For these competencies to be effective, life sciences companies need to develop them through the application and implementation of people, process and technology. This way, organizations will be able to build a better foundation for the new normal, unlock new levels of innovation and develop a more sustainable business environment.

How DELMIA helps drive supply chain excellence

At DELMIA, addressing these business challenges and supporting companies through integrated business planning is our bread and butter. We help life science organizations transform by enabling them to model the intricacies of their supply chains and consider the trade-offs between operational and business goals.

DELMIA offers robust supply chain solutions that help you plan, schedule and optimize complex integrated business planning processes within your supply chain, logistics and workforce operations across all planning horizons, allowing you to:

  • Optimize your logistics and transportation network; gain full control over the fleet, align transport with production plans and collaborate more closely with customers.
  • Model and optimize your supply chain network performance from inbound supply to manufacturing and distribution, and gain control, visibility and lasting resiliency across your value network.
  • Improve staff utilization and employee productivity by striking the right balance between operational efficiency, regulatory compliance and satisfaction for employees and customers.

Download our eBook Accelerate Innovation and Resilient Supply Chains for Life Sciences to learn how your life science organization can intelligently address supply chain disruption and variability to operate with greater agility and efficiency.

[1] Accenture. “Navigating the impact of COVID-19 in life sciences” (2022)

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