Shipping: Proactive Risk Management
Technology is making it easier to stop problems before they can affect patients and the bottom line.
The past few years have brought increasingly challenging problems to logistics and distribution. It may come as no surprise that some pharmaceutical manufacturers have job titles in place such as “Director of North America Supply Chain Complexity Management” (1). Some companies, however, may be relying on outmoded technology to handle these problems. Further complicating the picture is a fragmented network of multimodal transportation services that are charged with moving more valuable, often irreplaceable, time- and temperature-sensitive products, says Dan Bell, vice-president, Regulatory Compliance and Technical Affairs for Marken. As he puts it, “We’ve come to expect the unexpected.”
Over the past few years, Marken says, logistics companies have seen Murphy’s law play out in every possible way, from fuel tanker fires shutting down airport terminals to volcanic ash clouds blocking air traffic for entire continents, to labor disputes and political conflicts disrupting shipping at ports. In addition, recent epidemics such as the Ebola and Zika virus outbreaks have challenged companies’ ability to react quickly to the need for services, while ensuring staff protection and the safe handling of biological samples and vital vaccines.
Other topics discussed:
- Supply-chain risk assessment and management are a new focus
- Mobile apps help with risk management
- Technology can simplify the process
- Collaborating to prevent economic loss
- Reverse logistics: a growing trend