Compliance, traceability and end-to-end visibility key to global pharma industry post pandemic

June 15, 2021by Miruna Rad

While the intricacies of the pharmaceutical supply chain have not always been box-office, headline news, events over the last decade and recently, the global COVID-19 pandemic, have shone a spotlight on the pharma industry and supply chains that under-pin it.

In terms of pharmaceuticals, supply chains cover everything from new product development, through to warehouse storage and the physical transportation of products to the hospital, retail pharmacy or direct to the patient.

The regulatory and compliance gears associated with an industry where products make the difference between the life and death of consumers, means that the pharma supply chain has added levels of regulatory scrutiny and regular compliance checks, resulting in an additional layer of complexity.


Technology to monitor the integrity and provenance of products, as well as use-by dates has always been a priority within pharma. Over the last decade, serialization became increasingly important as part of a worldwide, industry effort to combat drug counterfeiting.

The impact of the pandemic and spotlight on ‘trust’ issues around vaccine batches, has accelerated this digitization imperative and has also driven a strong trend toward supply chain risk monitoring and management – all towards the longer-term goal of operational resilience.

Many companies re-evaluate their supply chain and take advantage of technologies, such as the cloud, robotics, automation and the Internet of Things.

These technologies are increasingly being leveraged to deliver ‘smarter’ products resulting in a better prescription adherence, more accurate dosing, as well as for new supply chain capabilities, like real-time shipment tracking; ensuring on time delivery products and following in-country regulatory conditions.

A great example of this is temperature monitoring technology and tracking software that can now be embedded in transportation management systems (TMS) – an important advance considering the growing need for visibility around vaccine distribution and cool storage.

Analytical technologies (including AI and ML applications) that give insight from large and diverse data sets are becoming increasingly popular, making for more efficient and compliant factory, warehouse and transportation management environments.

Furthermore, cloud software platforms can serve as the backbone of the information supply chain, ensuring that all supply chain participants (manufacturers, 3PLs, distributors etc.) have full visibility of the entire product life cycle; providing a clear record of product custody as it moves through each stage of the entire global supply chain process.


The operational silos that traditionally existed across warehousing, labelling, packaging and transportation operations in many pharma supply chains have historically reduced agility, hampered efficiencies and complicated visibility of the end product.

The flexibility to source new suppliers, inventory holding locations, 3PLs and the agility to make critical decisions with accurate data are what a modern pharmaceutical company must be able to provide both today, but more importantly, tomorrow.

Pharma supply chain visibility is about knowing your network and supply base, locating bottlenecks, and having the real-time information at your fingertips to know where the products are at any point; from bottling and labelling, to storing and distribution, right through to (in many cases now), doorstep delivery.

As more and more organizations take steps to increase integration across critical operations, leveraging end-to-end tools in order to ensure continuity of supply, production, distribution, transportation and reverse logistics will be key.
The most successful pharma companies will be those that build agile, efficient supply chains (either virtual or physical) to support this end-to-end vision of business transparency, recognising along the way that information is the new currency of the future.

For a supply chain partner who can provide your organization with solutions architected out of the box and configured to adhere your specific regulatory requirements, while offering an end-to-end view of your warehouse and transportation needs at a manufacturing, wholesale distributor and retail level, talk to the team from APTUS today.

Miruna Rad

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