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September 17, 2018
Plugged into today’s supply chain: Musings from Logipharma
By: Brad Pawlowski

Sharing experiences and challenges with pharmaceutical supply chain leaders was both reaffirming and enlightening last week at Logipharma 2018 in Philadelphia. Logipharma is the single largest Supply Chain & Manufacturing conference for the Life Sciences industry. The event included over 150 people from our key clients such as Pfizer, Merck, BMS, J&J and partners TraceLink and DHL. As the day one Chairperson(s), my Life Sciences Supply Chain and Industry X.0 colleagues had a great vantage point into the industry’s key issues.

Technology’s impact on the pharmaceutical supply chain and the opportunity to fundamentally change the patient experience permeated all the presentations and conversations. Heads were nodding as we shared our latest supply chain survey results that revealed nearly 100% of the respondents believe today’s technologies will not only enhance the supply chain but get us closer to the patient, yet they are held back by roadblocks on the transformation journey:

  • Legacy thinking, infrastructure, operating models and constrained supply chain capabilities are holding companies hostage.
  • There are conflicting internal priorities, many don’t have the focus or framework to innovate, there is an inability to prove return on investment and an absence of supply chain as a true core competency.
  • Furthermore, some believe: why innovate when all it does is risk performance and require investment?

These messages resonated well with the audience and drove a significant amount of conversation. We then reviewed the approach to developing the Intelligent Supply Chain – specifically around Configure, Connect, Operate and Optimize.

CONFIGURE the supply chain into an asset-light ecosystem that serves the needs of patient micro-segments.

CONNECT with external parties using intelligent technology for real-time E2E visibility.

OPERATE the connected ecosystem via a patient service-oriented liquid workforce.

OPTIMIZE day-to-day operations using analytics, performance monitoring and innovation.

Accenture's Nishant Modi's panel entitled, "Beyond the Hype, Early Adopters Reveal Blockchain Benefits" included leaders from Amerisource Bergen, Par Pharmaceutical and T-Systems. They examined blockchain's current state, viability and applicability to DSCSA requirements. The group also discussed other use-cases in pharma supply chain which could benefit such as cold chain and chargebacks. The audience polling and discussion revealed that DSCSA 2023 full track and trace requirements along with cold-chain and returns/chargebacks will highly benefit from blockchain based solution.

Scott Allison, President, Life Sciences & Healthcare Sector at DHL was highly engaging with his deep dive into how companies are facing key market trends such as digitalization, globalization and the always-informed patient as well as providing examples of companies that are truly shaping connected healthcare.

Later in the day, my colleague Justin Couch facilitated an animated discussion on “aligning external partners to meet DSCSA Supply Chain Serialization deadlines”. Senior leaders from Bayer, Sandoz, PharmoRX and Tracelink debated how to best manage CMOs and 3PLs, data ecosystem challenges and how to prepare for the November deadlines. The audience polling and discussion revealed that the industry “has barely scratched the surface” when looking to apply serialization data and tools to new opportunities. But we heard plenty of excitement and interest for testing a range of innovative solutions that leverage the unique new data set serialization will provide with Brian Daleiden of TraceLink leading the ideation around Cold Chain tracking, Blockchain, IoT Integration, Material Visibility Planning, Analytics, AI and more.

And the elephant in the room seemed to be the urgency for a digital workforce strategy that can knit this confluence of change into a sustainable, flexible and adaptive workforce. Carly Guenther and Anne Marie O’Halloran shared alarming stats from our latest research such as;

  • 90% of Chief Executives admit they should be doing more to attract Supply Chain talent
  • The demand-to-supply ratio of Supply Chain jobs to qualified individuals is 6 to 1 and in a few years it could be as high as 9:1
  • And even if you can attract the right talent today, a supply chain employee is likely to only stay just over 18 months

The audience was challenged to consider if they are ready for the digital workforce revolution with some tough questions.

  • How will you put people at the center of change?
  • How will you onboard your leaders?
  • How will you make manufacturing workforce—change-ready?
  • How will you secure the future workforce you need?
  • How will you capture value in the new?

Many companies are getting it right and we shared examples of those who are implementing innovative strategies.

We value the opportunity to stay connected with our clients and the market in Life Sciences Supply Chain & Manufacturing through industry events such as this where we can learn and share information about today’s most important issues.