Seven ways the pharma industry can benefit from tech-driven logistics solutions

Seven ways the pharma industry can benefit from tech-driven logistics solutions

The next-gen logistics management solutions are making the global supply chains more customer-centric and sustainable

  • By G Gopi | March 24, 2022

Oil Analyst Tom Kloza once said, “We’re seeing a race against time with logistics.” The integration of technology has significantly changed the logistics industry. From air to road to cold chain, the whole logistics sector has undergone a transformation that is driven by technology-led innovations.

The next-gen logistics management solutions are making the global supply chains more customer-centric and sustainable. Automation helps bring out a significant increase in productivity and efficiency in the workflow, and the advancements in transparency and traceability of the supply chain is enabling flexibility.

The pharma industry is highly dependent on logistics and supply chain, and here we are divulging how tech-driven logistics solutions benefit this sector. Historically, tracking movement and changes at each stage of transportation of pharmaceuticals has been a challenge, majorly due to the lack of remote oversight and over-reliance on manual checks and paperwork. This is being tackled by integrating technology solutions like Blockchain, Automation, IoT and more.

Adoption of blockchain in supply chain

Blockchain is an end-to-end solution that allows companies to become more organized and have more efficient operations. In the logistics business, blockchain helps companies become more efficient via a public ledger system that records the motions of each shipping container. With this technology, shipments with pharma products can implement faster routes and eliminate unnecessary steps in the delivery process. It further maintains transparency, eliminates the need for third-party involvement, and saves from tampering, doubling, or diversion of products because of its decentralized nature.

Automation via robotics in the handling of material

In the logistics sector, robotic solutions are used for integrating technological advancements, affordability, supporting zero-defect processes and boosting productivity. In the supply chain ecosystem, it assists workers with warehousing, transportation, and even last-mile delivery activities.

Autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) is one of the most commonly adopted methods by supply chain players that results in productivity increase and provides a transparent overview of the consignment. In the pharma sector, a transparent insight into transportation is crucial, especially in the temperature-controlled environment.

IoT-based temperature and location tracking

Internet of Things (IoT) has the potential to be a greater disruptor as smart devices and tracking sensors have gained prominence in the supply chain system. IoT devices or sensors do not require to be scanned like barcodes as they can transmit real-time data to any other IoT device on the same platform via the internet. For pharma products, the benefits of on-time data are immense as the product quality needs to be perfect, temperature-controlled, and the transportation has to be handled efficiently for safe delivery to the end consumer. IoT-based temperature monitoring system provides on-time tracking and analytics, balancing the temperature monitoring problem reducing the chances of error to almost nil.

Real-time visibility with the support of AI to prevent WET

With the digitization of logistics becoming prevalent and enabling the usage of data to drive processes and decision-making, AI capabilities are offering the next level of real-time visibility and accuracy. From last-mile delivery robots and sustainability solutions to warehouse automated picking systems and predictive optimization software, AI is already making a huge difference in logistics. The solutions enable the pharma supply chain to gather countable insights resulting in better visibility, service quality, and an enhanced customer experience. Analytical decision-making relies on companies having actionable data and real-time visibility throughout the cold chain. 

Digital confirmations on the Maintenance & Quality checkpoints

Maintenance and quality checkpoints are the two most crucial aspects of any logistics shipment. That becomes doubly relevant when the consignment includes healthcare products. 

Getting digital confirmation on quality checks quickens the supply system making it more effective and efficient. Digital processing can also prevent major compliance issues, which can further help in saving millions in cost.

Universal time for punching data for audit compliance

A logistics audit usually starts with gathering quantitative and qualitative data from key stakeholders, in this case, Logistics and Transportation, Warehousing, Purchasing, Production, Trade Compliance, Customer Service and IT departments. All these departments are directly or indirectly involved in the supply chain process and provide valuable insight for auditing purposes. The gathered data helps in identifying and evaluating inefficiencies, bottlenecks, waste, and quantifying logistics costs and potential savings through data analysis and benchmarking. In the absence of one platform for gathering all data, the process can take longer, and due to missing information, can be misguiding as well. Hence, a technology-enabled system that includes a universal time for punching data for audit compliance helps define the quality system and paves a path of continuous improvement program by giving feedback to the management.

Automated facility for dedusting & repackaging at the dock

Dedusting is the industrial cleaning process of granulates and light impurities accumulated during transit that can negatively affect the processing of materials. On the other hand, repackaging is a value-added service done whenever a change or reconfiguration is required. For instance, any temperature-sensitive good needs proper and careful monitoring during repackaging to prevent spoilage or damage. Effective tracking and labelling are required for repacking to make sure unit numbers, cartons per case, and other potential details are accurately reflected. With automated facilities, dedusting and repackaging of the products can become faster, more efficient and impurity free.


With the global pharma industry shifting portfolios, there is an increasing connection between quality and technology innovation in cold chain transportation. There is also a burgeoning need to build a high-tech engagement between the cold chain logistics provider and the pharmaceutical company so that there is complete trust and transparency w.r.t. temperature-sensitive shipments. And it is only through digitization that logistics providers can transform the pharma supply chain operations.

(The writer is AVP-Sales & Client Relations, Snowman Logistics)

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of IPP and IPP does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.

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