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Panel discussion: Role of intelligent supply chains

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The role of an effective supply chain to become a major differentiator in the value chain, as companies seek the next phase of growth, is pivotal. And, pharma companies have awakened to the revenue building, cost-reducing potential of supply chain excellence. Hence, the panel discussion titled ‘Role of intelligent supply chain’, saw experts analyse the adoption and implementation of emerging new technologies in their supply chain system to create strategic opportunities for their organisations and build competitive advantages in various functional areas of management.

The panelists in this session, Nihar Medh, VP and Global Procurement Head, Cipla, Lokesh Sharma, Sr Director – Supply Chain, Eisai Pharmaceuticals India, Anil Agrawal, COO, Apnar Pharma, and Jinaraja Sanjeev Poojary, VP Operation, Aleors Dermaceuticals, had a detailed discussion on the role of a fully-integrated global supply chain to enable growth for pharma companies looking to move into new markets.

They highlighted the significance of an intelligent supply chain system for pharma companies to reduce manpower, eliminate errors, increase traceability and transparency, optimise quality and collect valuable data which will enable pharma companies to gain invaluable business intelligence. They pointed out that predictive analytics is changing the way we procure and supply products in pharma. It is also helping to protect the quality of the products across the supply chain.

Pointing out that life sciences organisations should pay attention to details and ensure that each link in the supply chain is functioning properly to bring in better efficiencies in supply chain management, the panelists also deliberated on effective implementation of information technology, communication technology and automatic identification technology to build an intelligent supply chain. They elaborated on the need for adoption of data-analytics through intelligent supply chain to understand demand patterns and demand shift trends across different geographies as well as manage regulatory compliance within the supply chain and through the supply chain.

The experts also expounded how important people are in building an excellent supply chain system. While technology can bring in new efficiencies in a supply chain, we also need heads of supply chain systems to understand business objectives and have a comprehensive understanding of all the activities of the company. The experts also cautioned that supply chains are expected to be very agile and hence governance and monitoring mechanisms in supply chain management are very crucial. Just setting up processes aren’t enough, it needs to be ensured that they are being implemented efficiently.

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