Managing risks and finding opportunities through logistics
Biotech companies that attempt healthcare logistics on their own, or that rely on unqualified third parties, may be putting their significant investments at risk. Biotech's products have years of research and development behind them, but they can be compromised by the simplest mistakes in transport, such as mishandling, lost shipments, and insufficient temperature controls.
Throughout its supply and distribution chains, biotech and pharmaceutical companies must follow strict safety regulations. Well-managed logistics are not just beneficial; they are a must. Correct distribution reduces prescription errors, theft, tampering and counterfeiting, all of which could result in damage to reputation and litigation. In addition, some products require adherence to Good Distribution Practice (GDP) across multiple markets, worldwide visibility, and increasingly, a strictly monitored cold chain.
Find the right partner
For real-time crisis management and contingency planning, you need partners who understand and adhere
to your industry's demanding standards. For example, distribution partners must be able to trace shipments precisely and be able to assure chain of custody. Where required, they must be able to assure temperature controls and compliance with GDP in multiple markets. These capabilities cannot be built overnight, and maintaining them for reliable execution over time can be costly and distracting from biotech's core capabilities. Qualified partners are more positioned to stay on top of emerging distribution technologies and anticipate how to apply them. In fact, the future opportunities presented by state-of-the-art healthcarelogistics provide compelling reasons in favour of working with a qualified specialist.
Opportunities in data
The movement of APIs and other inputs, as well as the distribution of the final product, creates data that offers profound and actionable insight – if that data is collected and properly analyzed. With a competent partner, biotech firms can learn to identify, track and aggregate such data so that they can find greater efficiencies and reduce risks further.
Sophisticated data management can help companies manage inventory, forecast demand, and plan capacity, whether it's learning about markets in greater depth or exploring new ones. As technologies advance, biotech producers will be able to innovate with smaller shipments, product cyclical demand, and forecasting.
When evaluating and planning your approach to logistics, ask yourself two questions: Does your solution provide peace of mind, in all your markets? Does your solution enable exploration of emerging insights from data, and help you take action with that data?
Answering these questions thoroughly requires an ongoing consultative relationship with healthcare logistics providers who understand market requirements, your strategies, and the innovative breakthroughs that are on the horizon for logistics.
This article was originally published in Autumn Edition European Biotechnology Magazine 2021.