When we think of the pharmaceutical supply chain, we tend to think of manufacturing. However, there is so much more to this complex ecosystem – and all of this needs to be considered if your supply chain is to withstand COVID-19 and any future disruptions. For example:
- Do you understand pandemic-driven human behaviour? If not, your supply chain is already less resilient than a company that is able to pre-empt, detect, and mitigate the panicked actions of patients and healthcare providers. In other words, you may be ‘pandemic ready’ but are you ‘human behaviour ready’?
- Are you taking care of those people who keep the supply chain cogs moving – your employees? This needs to go beyond protecting them against the virus, but also protecting them mentally and socially. There are some innovative ways in which other industries are ensuring employees stay connected during these disconnected times. How innovative have you been in addressing the holistic needs of employees?
- How are you ensuring end-to-end visibility throughout all tiers of the supply chain? While many companies may be scrambling to eliminate silos in order to increase visibility, the better option might be to connect these silos instead. Do you have all you need to achieve that?
- Are you placing cooperation above competition? While some impressive partnerships have formed between pharma companies, particularly in efforts to secure a vaccine, there is still resistance to the sharing of data that could help stabilise the broader industry supply chain. With the right tools, cooperation with data is feasible without giving away commercially sensitive information.
- How geo-diverse is your supply chain? While reliance on single sources and countries is cost-effective in the short-term, the lack of resilience afforded the supply chain is likely to cost more when something goes wrong. Have you explored risk-sharing options for diversifying your supply chain?
- Is your supply chain smart enough? Most companies have been pushing ahead with a digital transformation, but very few can claim to be digitally mature. With this in mind, are you utilising COVID-19 as an opportunity to accelerate the digital transformation? What steps do you need to take to enter Supply Chain 4.0?
COVID-19: A Major Review of How to Protect the Entire Pharma Supply Chain offers multidisciplinary advice on all of these aspects of the supply chain and more.