Supply Chain Management- A study

Jul 20, 2020


Supply chain management is defined as the management of any planning of activities involving in sourcing, procurement, conversion and all logistic activities. As any other industry, there are various factors influencing the management of supply chain. Such inefficiencies need to be eradicated to ensure smooth flow of products from the manufacturer to the consumer. It also helps in minimizing the costs of goods.

The production and distribution of medicine is a top priority for every health care system. The pharmaceutical supply chains are a complex system requiring participation of different stakeholders of manufacturers, distributors,wholesalers and customers. It is of critical importance as it involves life saving interest of the human being.  Like other industries this industry is also faced with many risks affecting the quantity and quality of supply of medicinal products. The pharmaceutical supply chain should take steps to ensure that medicinal products are supplied with appropriate quality an in sufficient qualities to the consumers in a timely and convenient manner. Only then can the stakeholders can make benefit out of it. Supply chain includes suppliers, intermediaries, third parties and customers. There is an exchange of various information and resources among them to create this chain.Activities relating to logistics, manufacturing operations and all other activities related to product marketing and sales are part of the supply chain management.

Issues in supply chain management

In the increasingly competitive global market and economy, efficient supply change and networks need to make greater use of their assets and capital to maximize their profitability and to fulfill customer demand. However, there may be problems relevant to pharmaceutical supply chain. The concerns may be as follows.

1. Issues linked to counterfeiting

2. Customer dissatisfaction with the product

3. Disharmony between the entities of supply chain operations

4. Manufacturing issues with unavailability of raw material, contamination of products

5. Storage and safety problems such as inadequate temperature control, mishandling of medications, etc.

6. Transport spoilage caused by mishandling, poor shipping practices

7.  Improper setting of the plant and network design

Significance of logistics management in pharmaceuticals

With globalization and fast growing economy the government controls pricing policy.The pharmaceutical industry has given significant importance to logistics.Increased emphasis on the supply chain and the logistic level of activities relating to the distribution of the product and end to end customer satisfaction at the right time and place. The emphasis on logistics is therefore seen as a critical part of the pharmaceutical industry.

1. The pharmaceutical industry must put a great deal of focus on the quality and quantity of the drug over the lifespan of the drug. The distribution of the commodity manufactured causes issues when it is transported between two climatic zones in particular.

2. The industry also pays a lot of attention to the reduction of inventories and the reduction of the order cycle time.

3. The national or regional regulatory authority shall be responsible for the protocol to be followed for the recall of pharmaceutical products. The designated person(s) responsible for such recall shall be in an effective and written manner.

4. Transport of goods across various climatic zones causes problems for producers because there are various modes of transport and number of drop-off points.

Challenges in Supply chain management

The pharmaceutical supply chain is complex and diverse and involves an in-depth study of the relationship between various processes and product characteristics. Pharmaceutical products are transported with due regard to environmental factors on the basis of drug quality, product labelling,composition, distribution, etc.

Challenges in pharmaceutical supply chain

(1)   Lack of coordination

(2)  Inventory management

(3)  Absent demand information

(4)  Human resources dependency

(5)  Order management

(6)  Shortage avoidance

(7)  Expiration

(8)  Warehouse management

(9)  Temperature control



The major player in the supply chain performance of pharmaceutical firms has a huge effect on the quality of supply chain management. Identifying and preventing risks in pharmaceutical companies can not only lead to process optimisation, productivity increase and declining business risk, but will also help health systems meet the objectives of supply chain management – accessibility, quality and affordability. Qualified suppliers through a complex process are very important for the design of the right product and service quality. Each stage of the process is important and needs to be followed. Good information practices that exchange information between the supplier and the end consumer will contribute to a satisfactory certification of the supplier.