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Post Seminar Summary: Digital Data: Driving Supply Chain Efficiency

APAC pharma, life science, healthcare and logistics industry leaders gathered at the Leading Minds Network seminar titled Digital Data: Driving Supply Chain Efficiency to discover best practices, benchmark ideas and network with peers on the latest trends and topics around this general theme. Leaders from AstraZeneca, Merck Pte. Ltd., Bristol Myers Squibb, ELPRO, Parexel, WuXi Biologics, SmartCAE, NNIT, Johnson&Johnson and more participated in the event.


In addition to expert panel discussions on digital trends in biopharma supply chains, the group at large discussed supply chain automation and how emerging technologies and AI solutions may positively affect efficiency and environmental monitoring in the pharma and life science industries in the coming years.


Following is a summary of the keynote presentations from that event.


Managing Temperature Control: Quality Assurance and Operational Resilience
Brett Marshall, Vice President, Quality Assurance & HSSE, Zuellig Pharma, shared the various components that make up a robust temperature controlled management ecosystem for quality and operational resilience in the pharmaceutical industry. From his perspective, quality management is the core focus and driver of the ecosystem. Supporting quality management are four key pillars: people, process control, facilities/equipment, and systems/data. Marshall explained that an integrated approach covering all these elements is required to effectively manage temperature control, ensure quality, and build operational resilience within the pharmaceutical supply chain and distribution network.

Supply Chain Resilience in a Changing World

Oscar Sanchez Salinas, Distribution Area Lead, Asia North, AstraZeneca, discussed the importance of supply chain resilience in the face of disruptions such as natural disasters, geopolitical conflicts, and changing market trends. He outlined four pillars of resilience: visibility, flexibility, collaboration, and control. He also suggested key strategies for building resilient supply chains that included diversifying suppliers, increasing visibility through technology, leveraging digital tools like IoT and AI, continuous monitoring, and investing incrementally in areas like talent development and partnerships. Salinas also recommended implementing metrics like time-to-survive, time-to-recover, and time-to-thrive to measure and improve supply chain resilience. Overall, the focus was on developing agility, adaptability, and adjusting quickly to unexpected challenges and uncertainties in the supply chain.

Next Generation Temperature Control: Digital Cold Chain and Real Time Data Analytics

Stefan Braun, Managing Director, SmartCAE, explored how powerful digital temperature-controlled logistics simulations utilizing digital twins, and coupled with real time temperature monitoring data, can enable unique dynamic assessments to reduce or eliminate the risk of temperature excursions and minimize carbon footprint and total cost. Braun explained that one of the most important aspects of developing a digital cold chain is that thermal simulations can help key decision makers determine unknown factors using thermal simulation before doing any physical shipment. This analysis can speed up lane risk assessment from weeks to days, and assist in choosing the appropriate shipping box. Braun also noted that predictive analytics with real time data loggers allows more reaction time for managers to avert temperature excursions and more effectively mitigate risk in the supply chain.

Driving Greater Supply Chain Efficiency Through Digital Automation
Armin Feurstein, Product Manager Cold Chain Monitoring Solutions, ELPRO explored scenarios to automate manual supply chain processes in temperature-controlled logistics and how the results can help cold chain managers realize faster release times, eliminate costly human errors and greatly reduce the risk of missing or incomplete reporting. Automated, digital solutions can bulk-process thousands of individual units and can be configured to handle complex shipping workflows with ease. Feurstein recommended the following minimum features/requirements when implementing an automated environmental monitoring solution: ideal placement of smart devices on site; use of the latest generation of BLE PDF data loggers with improved Bluetooth®; and use of the latest generation of smart devices with high performance electronics and communication interface. He also emphasized that these processes are compliant and can scale up as organizations add additional sites.

Leading Minds Network event was hosted by ELPRO and Zuellig Pharma. The Network is a collaborative learning community experience for pharma, life science, healthcare and logistics industry leaders powered by ELPRO and Cold Chain Technologies.