2018 Trends to disrupt pharma supply chains

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Pharma Logistics IQ takes a look at some of the trends forecasted to take hold this year, digital transformation is due to keep on changing the supply chain and open up new opportunities.  

Breaks in supply chains surface ahead of Brexit

At the end of 2017, fractures began to emerge within UK and EU supply chains ahead of the trade hurdles to be caused by Brexit.

Surprisingly, almost one in 10 of the supply chain managers surveyed admitted their business has lost contracts due to Brexit. Furthermore, 14% feared parts of their operations will not be viable any longer.

In the space of 6 months, the level of EU businesses that expect to move some of their supply chain out of the UK due to Brexit jumped up by 19% to 63% of the practitioners surveyed.

Around 40% of UK businesses are looking for local partners to replace their current EU partners. Encouragingly, 26% are determined to invest in strengthening their relationships with suppliers based in Europe.

In order to minimize breakage, the Government should strive to minimize tariffs and quotas between the UK and Europe in its negotiations.

 By 2020 pharma cold chain logistics spend is predicted to exceed $16 billion

Manufacturers will invest in creating stability budgets

As indicated in our last two annual research reports, the desire to direct temperature controlled supply chains with stability data is rising. Over 75% of temperature controlled logistics practitioners surveyed voted in favor of increasing the use of product stability budgets for decision making in the supply chain.

Pills health

US serialization enforcement deadline to activate

After delaying the enforcement date as many in the market hadn’t installed the technologies or capabilities required, especially the small to mid-sized manufacturers and CMOs, pharma companies will have until November to comply to the US Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA) requirements.

It’s still business as usual: FDA’s proposed DSCSA enforcement delay

10% cost efficiency boost from analytics cognitive functions

This will be seen by the end of 2020 for around one in three manufacturing supply chains due to the actionable insights gained from the increased amount of data led decision making.  In 2018 we will see a large amount of manufacturers upgrade their end-to-end planning processes with analytics tools and IoT softwares. - IDC

By integrating the workflows of manufacturing and distribution departments with IOT devices, logistics professionals are equipped to forecast accurately, pick up savings where possible and react to situations quickly to prevent delays. This will be productive to reduce the amount of pharma product recalls that occur due to packaging and labelling errors.

Cybersecurity will be en-route to surpass physical security

This year will see more players in the supply chain sit up and seriously contemplate cyber security factors and become a more significant investment priority as lanes become more digital.

More capacity visibility & blockchain usage

Clouds, blockchain technologies will correct understandings of capabilities of suppliers for many manufacturers. A little while after 2018, after a few new success cases have emerged, blockchain will rise in importance for tracking within supply chains. 

Lowering wastage levels in clinical trial supply

In 2017, we saw enhanced integration between enrolment data and inventory levels from the use of IRT software in clinical supply chains positively impact overage and wastage levels.

Many clinical trial supply teams in our recent research indicated a reliance on excel sheets for planning and forecasting. To trigger widespread industry buy-in, simulation software providers will need to boost their product’s accessibility, user friendliness and ability to demonstrate clear ROI.

The clinical trial market will continue to prepare for the launch of the EU portal in line with the union’s new Clinical Trial Regulations. Adhering to labelling requirements such as, the expanded need to print expiry dating even on primary packaging, which is sometimes very small, is proving to stand as a tall challenge for the market.

Patient adherence prioritised by packaging and labelling

Patient adherence will continue to place pressure on packaging and labelling practitioners. Many manufacturers have already integrated patient adherence principals into their packaging and express interest in providing added features to boost compliance. The occurrence of drug misuse epidemics is only going to force the importance of patient adherence to rise. 

Access the infographic Market Research: Major Trends in Pharma Packaging


Want to know more about what's ahead for pharma? Take a look at our editorial calendar for 2018