In light of the rapidly changing economic and regulatory environment in the life science industry, transforming supply chain operations through the use of big data becomes an appealing alternative. During the Health and Personal Care Logistics Conference in Philadelphia, compelling arguments were presented by industry practitioners, members of academia, logistics service providers, and professional service firms. The primary focus was on how to leverage data analysis and technology integration to derive powerful insights that can transform today’s supply chains.
Clarkston Consulting was in attendance, presenting in one of the panel discussions and sharing perspectives on the necessity of effectively using data analytics in the supply chain.
A few key topics were consistent:
- The life science industry, led by big pharma, is taking great leaps harmonizing data, capturing new sources of data, and centralizing its use, so supply chain leaders can access, analyze and make better decisions faster than ever before. Transportation mode selection, faster replenishment through agile networks, inventory allocations, measurements of DEA quotas, responsiveness to tender markets, and sourcing decisions are a few initial examples of the use of analytics in life sciences supply chains.
- Investments in past years to capture and store data have many companies swimming in zetabytes of information; most are now looking for ways to establish better processes to reap the benefits of such unexplored gold mines. An initial step is to design the right organization that can handle such transformation.
- Technology providers come to the table ready with creative and powerful tools, which at times are ahead of the organizational structure and inherited culture of the life science industry. Companies are ready to invest in technology, but should be mindful of balancing IT-only investments with well supported efforts in strategy, process and organizational alignment.
- Talent continues to be a huge growing pain for analytics in the industry. Tenured employees with decades of experience in life sciences and extensive knowledge of a company’s business often lack the analytical brain-wiring required to use advanced tools and muscle through extensive sets of data. On the other hand, new hires bring the right analytical mindset but lack the business and industry acumen to rapidly use their abilities.
One thing was clear at the HPCLC conference: a growing gap will rapidly expand between leading and lagging companies. Leaders will continue to get better at capturing, modeling and analyzing data to derive powerful insights and make faster decisions for their supply chains. Lagging companies will be left further and further behind.
Can we build it together?