Madrid, 13 de mayo del 2022.- Full shipment visibility across supply chains has been an elusive goal for decades. Sensor technologies enhance visibility, but until recently affordable track and trace solutions have been mainly passive. That is, data recorders placed inside containers, trailers, railcars and/or SKUs record shipment condition in real time, end-to-end, but are unable to transmit the data, which is downloaded on completion of the shipment. Active sensors which report data as it’s collected have been available but not widely used, due to their higher cost and shorter battery life.
Advances in sensors, wireless communications, location-based systems and batteries – in combination with the data processing power, storage capacity, process automation and analytics of cloud computing – now make possible active platform solutions that collect, interpret and share location and condition data across the end-to-end supply chain in real time. This offers shippers, manufacturers, distributors and logistics services providers continuous, real-time visibility, with actionable alerts, to intercept, redirect or order replacement product to meet OTIF, service level agreement and regulatory compliance targets. Analytics applied to current and historical shipment data provide valuable operations insights for planning and for measuring performance.
No sector has a greater stake in these advances than pharmaceuticals and life sciences. A single damaged, refused shipment can trigger a write-off in millions of dollars. Recent chaos and uncertainty make a strong use case for real-time, end-to-end visibility at scale in the pharma cold chain.
By the way, with the majority of large pharmaceutical manufacturers aiming for carbon neutrality by 2030, reusable packaging remains a largely untapped approach in achieving measurable ESG gains.
With nearly six billion prescriptions filled in the United States each year, the market for prescribed drugs is vast. There is also an expansive network of medication distributors that partner with drug manufacturers to deliver products to patients and providers. As most therapies are time- and temperature-sensitive, it takes a tremendous amount of effort to ensure widespread access to these vital treatments.
Globally, the pharmaceutical logistics market commands approximately US $80 billion in revenue annually and continues to expand with no end in sight. The US is the largest consumer of prescription therapies, but increased trade across large European countries along with successful commercialization of EU-based discoveries are driving the European market’s explosive growth in this sector. Infrastructure improvements, including the creation of highways and information technology modernization investments, are paving the way for new distribution models that increasingly resemble the flow of pharmaceutical goods in the US.
With downstream supply chains relying on thousands of drugs to treat millions of patients spanning billions of miles, it’s not surprising that the pharmaceutical industry emits more CO2 than the automotive industry (3). After adding in the energy and materials used to meet upstream manufacturing needs, such as procuring APIs from distant suppliers, the pharmaceutical supply chain emerges as a tremendous consumer of natural resources.