Tech trends to watch out for in pharma industry
Divay Kumar, CEO and co-founder, O4S, explains the various developments that have transformed, and trends that will transform, the pharma industry
Pharmaceutical industry, along with healthcare industry, is witnessing a huge digital transformation in the recent times. With the advancement of technology, pharma companies are also preparing and equipping themselves to bring digital transformations into their existing processes. Developments in Artificial Intelligence (AI), blockchain, big data analytics and data science have completely changed the way in which pharma industry works.
During COVID-19 pandemic, pharmaceutical industries saw a huge deficit in fulfilling the demands of people. Below are the top five areas in which digital revamps and AI advancements have been observed in pharmaceutical industries in the recent times:
- Due to changing market trends, pharma companies are looking at optimising the manufacturing processes to gain production control using Internet of Things (IoT) which provides more connectivity, reliability and visibility in the process. Software as a Service (SaaS)-based technology companies, wherein data is centrally managed to help pharma companies achieve operational excellence by reducing the time delays in product lifecycle, increases the speed at which the product can reach the market.
- Technological innovations in pharma industry also improved collaborations internally in achieving traceability of product movement across the value chain helping with better inventory control and minimised costs.
- Increased transparency of supply chain has also gained commercial excellence in terms of connecting with last-mile partners. This helps pharma companies to balance expenditures and reduce returns across various channels.
- AI-driven analytics integrate data with context that helps pharma companies to control, monitor and assess all activities ensuring integrity, along with operational efficiencies.
- New track-and-trace solutions are adopted by pharma companies to tackle the counterfeiting of drugs that end up in the public and cause potential risks. To minimise these risks and improve safety of these drugs, a centralised tracking system is being implemented. Pandemic saw a rise in substandard drugs in the market due to unavailability of stocks and no tool for public to check product authentication of these drugs.
Globally, India is ranked third in pharmaceutical production and is growing rapidly. The Indian pharmaceutical industry is growing at 17.7 per cent annually, up from 13.7 per cent in 2019-2020 and is expected to expand 3x times in the next decade. India also stands for 12th largest exporter of medical goods. To tackle the entrenchment of counterfeit drugs into the market, governments across the globe are recommending an automated tracking system to be adopted by the pharma companies.
A strong tracking system along the supply chain system not only enables pharmaceutical companies in controlling the menace of counterfeit drugs in markets, but also solve various other issues including:
- quick and better resolutions to inter-enterprise problems
- minimised waste and increased efficiency
- facilitating inventory management, warehouse flow and stock rotation
- reduced costs from minimal inventory pilferages
- enhanced timely deliveries with better control of order lead times
- strong traceable data coupled with analytics helping forecast demands, predicting shortages and securing supply during crisis
Digital enterprises with cloud-based solutions provide pharmaceutical companies with reaping benefits and capabilities to deliver excellence via operational efficiency and automated workflows. IoT is creating innovated and disrupting pharma industry by reducing complexities and inefficiencies with real-time information to manufacturers in every step of the enhanced value chain system.
Using SaaS and advanced technologies like AI, ML and IoT, pharma industries can distant themselves from traditional practices in supply chain and gain competitive advantage by evolving further with technological transformations.