Pharma Supply Chains in Digitalisation Push - Deloitte Study

A Survey From Deloitte’s Center for Health Solutions Says Supply Chain Digitalisation Is Now a Must for Biopharma Companies

Supply chain digitalisation is now a must for biopharma companies, a new survey from Deloitte says. 

The report, from Deloitte’s Center for Health Solutions, explores supply chain digitalisation strategy and investments, current and future capabilities, benefits from digitalisation efforts, and barriers to digitalisation. 

The survey finds: 

  • Roughly half of respondents report improvements in key areas due to digitalisation. This includes better risk sensing (50%), enhanced yields (50%), warehouse efficiencies (48%), and cost-effective sourcing (47%). 
  • A third of survey respondents say their organisation will likely scale capabilities such as deep learning for product development, machine vision for predictive maintenance, and digital twins for process improvement in the next five years. 
  • A further third of respondents say their organisation is attempting to completely transform its supply chain using digital technologies. 

The Deloitte Center for Health Solutions surveyed 105 biopharma leaders involved in supply chain digitalisation efforts at global companies with revenue greater than US$500mn. 

The study explores supply chain digitalisation strategy and investments, current and future capabilities, benefits from digitalisation efforts, and barriers to digitalisation.

Pharma firms scaling supply chain visibility initiatives

A fifth of respondents say their organisation has scaled capabilities focused on supply chain visibility. These capabilities include dashboards for real-time visibility into supplier performance (22%), command centres to monitor operational performance (20%), and visibility into product fulfilment and return processes (26%). 

Deloitte points out that leveraging digital technologies such as AI and digital twins can help biopharma companies automate supply chain processes while generating actionable insights for greater predictability and faster decision-making. 

But it adds that a number of biopharma companies are experimenting with transformative uses of digital technologies. 

More than one-third of respondents (34%) believe that, within the next five years, their organisation is likely to scale the use of:

  • Deep learning for product development
  • Machine vision for predictive maintenance
  • Digital twins for process improvement 

The survey also finds that a variety of factors are likely to slow, delay, or impact digitalisation efforts. These include:

Retrofitting existing systems with digital technologies, which can frustrate end users and business leaders.

Poor planning and resourcing, coupled with a lack of experience, can challenge the execution of digitalization programs. 

Budget constraints forcing companies to divert resources from digitalisation programs to immediate needs such as new-product launches.

Underinvestment in change management, due to resourcing and time constraints, or poor planning.

The push for digitalisation comes as many pharmaceutical companies are seeking to shorten supply chains in the face of ongoing supply disruption.

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