In previous blog entries we have analysed the growing importance of the supply chain control and compliance in a globalized and growingly complex market. Risk Management is clearly the tool to establish where to put the focus and efforts and the risk analysis should be performed with the complete information about the supply chain and the operations of the agents that participate. Audits are an excellent tool to get the needed information and act in consequence.
In this post we will discuss the trends and future challenges in the supply chain control, analysing topics such as personalized delivery and new technologies, etc.
The irruption, development and generalization of personalized genetic therapies will have a significant impact on the supply chain of the future. Patient-centric therapies —having treatments available at the point of need—would completely modify the supply chain. Gene- and cell-based therapies require an individual supply chain to attend each and every patient. This will avoid the use of pre-established routes, and introduce new risks in the supply chain of products, highly sensitive to temperature variations.
In this case the challenges for the companies and regulators will be to define systems to guarantee the correct transport and delivery conditions and certainly new technologies should be implemented.
A secure supply chain must be guaranteed by the full and secure traceability of the agents and operations carried out. New technologies enable and will enable the secure management of the supply chain. An example can be the traceability guaranteed through blockchain technology and smart contracts, which allow the secure introduction of traceability data during the supply process and even payment with bitcoins if the requirements established in the smart contracts are met.
The smart contracts conditions are automatically executed gaining security and efficiency. One example could be the requirements of temperature that should be made to accept the transaction and to continue to the next step of the supply chain.
Another remarkable way of applying blockchain is the prevention of counterfeit medicine, a growing problem and of great concern for its impact on public health. The change of ownership of the products in the extensive supply chains is frequent, which increases the risk of counterfeit. By blockchain, the traceability of the supply chain will be guaranteed, with each change of ownership recorded at the time in such a way that the data is complete and fully accessible by customers, manufacturers or regulatory authorities.
The emergence of new technologies has always been a challenge, both at the level of adapting regulations and for their subsequent compliance. And this technological change is likely to accelerate in the coming years.
At this point, having a good team of professionals with expertise in the field seems vital, whether an internal team or external consultants.
In the next post we will see how an effective system of audits can help to detect and eliminate possible gaps and risks within the Supply Chain.