Express Pharma

The biggest learning from the pandemic is around agility and robustness of the supply chain

Prabhat Verma, India Head, Integrated Supply Chain Operations (ISCO), Merck Life Science, gives details to Viveka Roychowdhury on how the new plant at Patalganga helped enable customers to accelerate the development and production of COVID therapies during the difficult pandemic times in the last two years

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How does Merck Life Sciences’s recently-launched third plant in Patalganga meet the company’s business objectives in India, in terms of product portfolio?

Patalganga is a state-of-the- art distribution-cum-manufacturing facility spread over an area of approximately 40,000 sq mtr. We handle distribution of 2,00,000+ SKUs across India for multiple sectors such as pharma, diagnostics, academia, government institutions, chemical labs and chemical distributors. We also manufacture and down fill organic solids in various pack sizes for our domestic customers. The primary objective of introducing a new plant at Patalganga was to ensure that we meet our long- term customer strategy through improved fill rate and minimal supply disruptions. The site is 100 per cent compliant to National Building Code and amp; Merck EHS Standards, adherence to local regulations and licences.

Our warehouse automation systems and advance material handling equipment such as Very Narrow Aisle (VNA) equipment, flameproof stackers and battery-operated trucks help in safe, agile and seamless operations, thereby guaranteeing that 95 per cent of our orders are shipped out the same day. We have a stand-alone Petroleum Explosives Solvent Organization (PESO) building, which is licensed to store 500 KL flammable liquids, and is 10 times our previous warehouse capacity. A robust automated temperature monitoring system ensures that a wide range of products in the category of two to eight degrees, 15 to 25 degrees, -20 degrees, -70 degrees and non-temperature material is stored in controlled environment, as per their label storage conditions.

What are the learnings from the pandemic, given the demand-supply disruptions, price escalation in input chemicals due to scarcity and increased demand, etc? What are the other challenges outlasting the pandemic, and what measures have been taken to ensure productivity is not impacted?

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