Pharma Supply Chain in COVID: Reshaping Logistics For Efficient Management Aaj Enterprises May 22, 2021

Supply Chain Management

Pharma Supply Chain in COVID: Reshaping Logistics For Efficient Management

The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a national crisis in India. Hospitals running out of oxygen, beds, ventilators, and important medical supply that is essential in combating this deadly second wave, putting the lives of millions of Indians at stake was and is still in the news. But the primary question that somewhat answers all of these questions is, How is the Pharmaceutical Supply Chain fairing during Covid.

When the coronavirus pandemic struck, there was a lot of stress on the drug supply chain in India and it has only increased with another wave that has more than a million fatalities. The Indian health care sector is currently playing a critical role in helping the country fight the second wave and save the people. It is not only the need of the hour for the pharmaceutical industry to increase the efficiency of their supply chain and logistics but also for the future, as we all have to be fully prepared for any medical or health crisis in the country. 

Indian Pharmaceutical Supply Chain & Its Challenges: 

India, one of the world’s leading economies holds an important position in the global pharmaceutical sector. It has also been one step ahead of China when it comes to pharmaceutical exports. India’s biotechnology industry comprises drug intermediates, bio pharmaceuticals, bio-industry and bioinformatics, and is expected to grow at an average growth rate of around 30% a year, as per the latest statistics. 

For the pharmaceutical industry, supply chain and logistics are the key aspects. They play a vital part in not only the growth of the sector but also in aiding the healthcare industry during the time of a crisis- such as the COVID 19 pandemic. 

With an efficient and consistent supply chain, the industry can not only reach new markets but also ensure the availability of the drugs and medical supply at the right time, so that no patient has to wait for the SOS medicines and emergency drugs. 

Disruption of supply chain process: Thousands of migrant workers walking back home during the pandemic left factories under-utilised. Processing units at Pharma companies are running at decreased rates, resulting in less production. 

The key states such as Sikkim, supplying the majority of medicines to the rest of India said that they were unable to transport medicines across states due to restricted transportation that made drug movement impossible, resulting in a loss for both dealers and sellers.

The way forward: Reshaping and reconstructing Supply chain for improved efficiency: 

The pandemic has made us realise the importance of an efficient supply chain and logistics, especially in the pharmaceutical industry. It is important to increase efficiency and transparency in pharmaceutical supply chain management, perhaps now more than ever. 

Thanks to technology, humans have come up with innovative tools, software, and techniques that can help reconstruct the Pharmaceutical supply chain management in India and make it more effective and efficient. 

Automation: Absolute warehouse automation is now becoming a reality, with many third-party logistics providers adapting new technologies such as autonomous mobile robots and aerial drones, manual processes such as packaging can now be completed at a faster pace, becoming less prone to human error and increasing efficiency. Other tools such as software for tracking and monitoring freight has made the supply chain process more transparent than ever. Companies can now track the exact location, direction, and hours of service by the transporter. This is motivating pharmaceutical companies to manage fast-changing multichannel and Omni-channel requirements efficiently while encouraging timely delivery. 

Adapting Innovative methods and techniques: To improve the working of the healthcare sector amid the coronavirus crisis, pharmaceutical companies need to adapt tech tools to get a higher efficiency rate, and for a systematic supply chain that ensures proper production, timely delivery, temperature monitoring and tracking of products. This will not only enable pharmaceutical companies to have a wider reach across the nation but also ensure constant vigilance in the pharmaceutical supply chain. Adapting digital tools such as shipping status tools, order processing tools, drones, lean inventory tools, among others. 

Systematic warehousing: To have an efficient supply chain, pharmaceutical companies need systematic, effective and enhanced warehousing. To ensure timely and efficient distribution of products across the country, pharmaceutical companies need to ensure that they create good storage and good distribution practices. The Indian pharmaceutical industry needs to focus on monitoring and enforcement technologies that not only ensure transparency but also the right quality that reaches hospitals and chemists. They have to be 100% sure that they are utilising the right network of suppliers, vendors, distribution partners, as well as the best ERP solutions.

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