Miebach Pharma and Life Science Study 2020: Digitalization is changing the pharmaceutical supply chain
Can Digital Transformation, Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things and Robotics be the answer to some of the main Supply Chain challenges? How relevant are these technologies in the short, medium and long term?
In the last Miebach Pharma Study of 2016, topics such as supply chain visibility, improving prediction accuracy, track & trace and serialization requirements were identified as the most important challenges for the future. None of the participants at that time commented on the digital challenges and the profound changes in this area. In 2020, the topic of digital disruption is now the focus of decision-makers in the Pharma supply chain. 540 professionals have been participating in the survey, representing Europe, Middle East, Asia-Pacific, USA-Canada and Latin America.
Digital transformation is a management task
Approximately 60% of the participants consider Digital Transformation as a top management priority, while 80% expect to realize the benefits of digital initiatives within the next five years.
The most important short-term measures most frequently mentioned in the study are cooperation with partners in the supply chain, big data/machine learning, robotics and automation.
The key challenges for the pharmaceutical supply chain are not only driven by digital developments - the pressure to reduce costs in the supply chain is growing and is recognized by the study participants as the most important challenge. However, apart from the top focus on cost reduction, some of the key drivers have not changed much over the last eight years (Miebach Pharma Studies 2012, 2016, 2020) and have always been in the range of 80-95% in the responses, which are end-to-end supply chain visibility, improving forecast accuracy and optimizing the distribution network.
Other topics have decreased significantly in importance during this period, mainly due to the successful implementation of track and trace as well as protective measures against counterfeit drugs, especially through the implementation of serialization requirements.
Impact of new Technologies
New technologies have a strong influence on the transformation process of supply chains. Pharmaceutical and life science companies expect to implement the following technologies in the short term: Real-time process monitoring, manufacturing execution system (MES), robotics & automation, predictive maintenance, big data. However, many companies still lack the user-friendly tools and full management support to fully exploit the potential of these technologies.
"End-to-end supply chain visibility is seen by all as the ultimate goal of a mature and efficient supply chain. Digital transformation will certainly help in this regard, but first all parties involved have to be fully integrated. The ability to track components and products from manufacturer to destination is probably one of the most desired outcomes of digital transformation" - according to Martin Eckert, Head of Global Pharma & Life Sciences, Miebach Consulting. The complete report on the results of the Miebach Pharma & Life Science Study 2020 can be requested from Ralf Hoffmann, Miebach Consulting (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Furthermore, Miebach Consulting offers a webinar series on the results of the study. Interested parties can get more information and register for the webinars free of charge under this link.
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