Driven by growth, the Indian Cold Chain Industry has thrown up with plenty of challenges into the warehousing sector. While at one end companies have to meet the demand of high throughput, at the other end they need dense storage to cater to the fluctuations of demand, forex fluctuation impacting procurement & storage of imported raw materials and so on.
Critical parameters like Inventory Management, Efficient & Accurate Operations in a Controlled Atmosphere, Integration with ERP and Compliance to Statutory Norms have gained prime importance in cold chain warehousing facilities to ensure proper track and trace of pharma products.
Challenges faced by the industry
Lack of Coordination
This is perhaps, the number one challenge that most pharmaceutical industries in India face with logistics services. This is a global industry, and the importance of having a coordinated and flexible supply chain cannot be overemphasized. Of course, this is not an easy task and gives way for manufacturers of counterfeit drugs to take over.
People are always in need of one form of medical drugs or another, and if the logistics companies are not up to par, they may resort to using cheaper or counterfeited alternatives. This, in turn, affects the costs of developing authentic drugs from favorite brands, and if any fake drug harms anyone, the brands will suffer for it. Counterfeit pharmaceuticals do a lot of harm, not only to users but established brands as well
Most pharmaceutical products need to be kept at a particular temperature while storing in warehouses and throughout the transit period from manufacturer to the end user. This is to make sure that the drugs are useful for the patients.
Utilizing the available technology is a great challenge. Some pharmaceuticals tend to degenerate if the temperature at which it is stored is exceeded, or vice versa.
Supply Chain Visibility
This is also one of the greatest challenges facing the pharmaceutical industry. The use of warehouse management systems and the integration of IT are not yet at an all-time high when it comes to the pharmaceutical industry. Even though there are many technologies out now that are being implemented by logistics companies, the pharmaceutical industry does not even rely on logistics companies to handle this aspect.
The counterfeit drug problem
The counterfeit drug market, recognized by the Food and Drug Administration as a real and expensive problem, is responsible for the loss of billions of dollars every year. Counterfeit drugs are manufactured by using inactive (ineffective) or toxic (harmful) ingredients and are packaged to resemble genuine (brand-name or generic) drugs. The World Health Organization estimates counterfeit drug sales to range between $35 and 40 billion per year.
Between 8 and 10% of the worldwide drug supply is estimated to be counterfeit, which means that by the year 2016, more than $75 billion of sales will be lost per year.
Counterfeit products damage consumer confidence in the drug brand and in the supply chain. To counteract the counterfeit drug supply, manufacturers are forced to increase their inventory stock by up to 10%. Hospitals and retail pharmacies are spending, on average, between $700,000 and $800,000 per year on excess inventory.
An inefficient supply chains
According to Interactive Data Corporation (IDC), the pharmaceutical industry loses 4.5% of revenue because of supply-chain inefficiencies. Contributing to these inefficiencies is the complexity of the pharmaceutical supply chain, where drugs can change ownership up to 10 times before reaching the customer. Alternate distribution channels for drug products often ignore distribution rules, which can undermine the manufacturers’ ability to authenticate some of the drug supply.
High supply-chain costs result from diversion, lack of visibility into product inventory, and inefficient processes for conducting recalls and returns processing. Collectively, these inefficiencies result in billions of lost dollars per year and create the need for technology that provides visibility of product movement across the total supply chain.
Time to bridge the gaps in Cold Chain-TRP:
“A major challenge in the sharing of information between tiers is the problem of passing data between disparate information systems.”
“Information must be shared across processes not only within the organization, but within the functional silos such as planning, sourcing, production and delivery.”
“Processes need to become more collaborative, with data sharing and planning being done across departments as well as between organizations.”
Supply Chain Track and Trace
As a product moves along the supply chain, there are several important processes that must take place: its authentication is checked at each step, information is updated on its whereabouts, and its condition status is monitored, such that if it is found to be damaged or held in inappropriate conditions, an exception can be triggered.
Inventrax’s Track and trace in the supply chain has several implications:
- Integration of automatic identification technologies for tracking, authentication, and condition monitoring in the warehousing and logistics process;
- Logistics management and monitoring enhance enterprise-level logistics processes with automatic identification-based technologies, which are integrated with the existing processes to provide an extensible platform for future process enablement;
- Automatic identification technologies used for serialization enable item level and hierarchical product tracking, authentication, and visibility across the supply chain—within and beyond company boundaries.
How Inventrax’s Track &Trace solutions really transform Cold Chains into Reliable Supply Chain Networks
From raw ingredients to processing, from the wholesaler to the pharmacy, our track/trace systems provide visibility and support the company’s validation of their procedures and protocols.
Some aspects of a track/trace solution would include;
- Tracking import and export elements of raw materials
- Integrating with FDA safety and other processing systems
- Effectively tracking and tracing products both internally and externally
- Documenting product history from manufacturing to the customer
- Providing a supported chain of custody for finished goods
Recognizing business benefits
Customers can collaborate with Inventrax to solve the problems of counterfeit drugs and supply-chain inefficiency. In addition to supporting government compliance mandates, Inventrax’s powered by Traceability engine offers business applications that improve overall supply chain performance and can allow customers to see a positive return on their investment. Through the serialization, traceability customers can be enabled to automate compliance—and thereby increase the accuracy of—the process of tracking their products throughout the supply chain. This automation saves money and increases consumer confidence in the brand, in the manufacturer, and in the industry.
Once customers have established a compliance infrastructure based on Inventrax Traceability Solutions customers can easily take advantage of the data captured to solve additional business use cases such as Cold Chain Management and Targeted Recall to realize ROI and improved supply chain efficiencies.
The pharmaceutical industry can leverage Inventrax traceability technology to solve challenges in multiple use cases beyond pedigree compliance such as supply chain visibility, reverse logistics, and supply-chain integrity.
Reduce costs with Inventrax’s Supply-Chain Track & Trace Solutions
Inventrax’s traceability solutions provide temperature and shelf-life data about cold chain products. According to a recent report by IMS Health, worldwide sales of biologic medications, which require temperature-controlled storage and shipping conditions, increased by 12.5% in 2007 to $75 billion, nearly double the 6.4% increase in sales of traditional pharmaceuticals.
With our Traceability technology, customers can track temperature information and parameters to effectively monitor and manage cold-chain products.
This enhanced visibility can increase product safety and reduce waste by generating alerts when a product is not located in the appropriate temperature-controlled location within a specified timeframe. In addition, increased government oversight on environmental conditions requires manufacturers and distributors to track cold-chain products. Customers can add temperature information and parameters to pedigree data to effectively monitor and manage cold chain products.
Diversion detection and ePedigree
Our Traceability technology helps solve the problem of los revenue due to sales outside the normal supply chain by minimizing the risk of counterfeit or tampered products. Electronic pedigrees abide by governmental drug requirements, ensure patient safety, and minimize incidents of counterfeit and diverted drugs to create a safer supply chain and ensure brand image and consumer confidence.
With our traceability and ePedigree technologies, members of the supply chain can confirm the authenticity of the products that they are handling. For example, a retail pharmacy that receives a shipment of serialized drugs can authenticate the product. This technology prevents counterfeit or imitative products from entering the supply chain, which prevents brand erosion.
Key Benefits would include:
Product efficiencies of track/trace solutions would include;
- Accurately accounting for raw material processes
- Authenticating product at the item/dose level
- Accurately tracing processed products
- Accurately managing recalls
- Accurately managing returns
- Accurately managing distribution of sample products
- Speeding up receiving time
- Speeding up processing time
- Speeding up replenishment time
- Reducing infiltration of counterfeit pharmaceuticals into the supply chain
- Reducing errors
Providing accurate auditing and inventory forecasting
- Product logistic and warehousing support values would;
- Reduces inventory management expenses
- Reduces stock levels
- Reduces manual checks
- Reduces product recall costs