Extending the Life Sciences and Pharmaceutical Supply Chain

In the life science and pharmaceutical area, an inefficient supply chain can cause serious problems including product degradation and late deliveries of life-saving medications. Third-party logistics (3PL) providers specialize in streamlining their customers’ supply chains, merging logistics expertise with state-of-the-art innovations. While manufacturers search for ways to distinguish products in a competitive marketplace, many do so by partnering with 3PL providers, who offer value-added services that extend supply chain operations and maximize efficiency.

Q: In what ways has the pharmaceutical supply chain evolved to meet increasing demand?

A: In order for supply chains to remain efficient in a changing pharmaceutical industry, buyers and manufacturers are moving from a transactional to a process focus. Extending the pharmaceutical supply chain for special projects has become increasingly common. Some innovative 3PLs have evolved to offer the following service offerings:

  • Insourced Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI): Insourcing VMI allows 3PLs to use their expertise, technology and infrastructure to solve customers’ internal problems.
  • Repackaging and relabeling: 3PL providers licensed by the Food and Drug Administration are able to relabel and repackage pharmaceuticals, ensuring the provider can adhere to crucial manufacturing protocols, protecting the product’s integrity.
  • Kitting: 3PL providers can seamlessly integrate required supplementary materials as a value-added kitting solution into their regular warehousing and handling services.
  • Serialization: Innovative 3PLs are in front of 2017 and 2023 serialization mandates, offering customized packaging and delivery solutions to easily integrate manufacturer-serialized units into the distribution process.
  • Foreign Trade Zones (FTZ): FTZ status allows imported product arriving at a U.S. port to be immediately moved to secure facilities without waiting for customs clearance, a significant advantage when dealing with the delivery of sensitive pharmaceuticals.

Q: What are some of the benefits in adopting innovative approaches to the pharmaceuticals supply chain?

A: By extending customers’ pharmaceutical supply chain through value-added services, 3PLs are building the foundations of a mutually beneficial relationship. There are many benefits in adopting innovative approaches to the life sciences and pharmaceuticals supply chain.

  • Cost optimization: Partnering with a 3PL to integrate special projects into existing supply chain operations mitigates costs associated with developing and implementing new services.
  • Flexibility: 3PL providers have the flexibility to integrate value-added projects as natural extensions of existing supply chains, ultimately growing them into long-term, value-added services.
  • Scalability: 3PLs have an unmatched ability to scale and repurpose labor to address any time-sensitive needs such as recalls, relabeling or fulfillment.
  • Responsiveness and Resourcefulness: 3PLs provide a ready and available workforce that can be flexed and scaled to meet a customer’s needs in a timely manner as well as manage labor and handle additional requirements.

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