Consequences of Supply Chain Blind Spots and Solutions in New Survey

Companies lose millions due to spoilage; improved tracking methods increase end-to-end visibility and mitigate loss.

Companies in the life sciences industry need a granular view of the flow of products traveling through the supply chain, from the initial supplier to the patient.
Companies in the life sciences industry need a granular view of the flow of products traveling through the supply chain, from the initial supplier to the patient.

Cloudleaf–a provider of supply chain improvement systems–partnered with Sapio Research–a market research agency–to survey 210 U.S. supply chain decision makers in the pharmaceutical and food & beverage industries over a month’s span. The report is meant to highlight critical blind spots in today’s supply chains and highlight what’s needed to improve supply chain effectiveness in the future.


Related: MIT PhD on Supply Chain Resiliency in the Face of COVID-19


According to the survey results, most manufacturers do not 100% trust data for tracking product, as methods are historically outdated and lack the efficiency needed to achieve true end-to-end visibility; thus 99% of respondents in the pharmaceutical industry use some sort of manual processes to achieve supply chain visibility. Yet, the report shows that on average, these respondents still lose $95 million annually in medical inventory due to spoilage resulting from cold chain failures. This number also jumps to $179 million for companies with 1,000 or more employees. 


Related: Pharma Track & Trace Lessons Learned


Due to the complex global network companies in the life sciences industry rely on to get product to end users, as well as the strict requirements on the industry, life science companies need a granular view of the flow of products traveling through the supply chain, from the initial supplier all the way to the patient. However, these companies are often lagging in digital transformation initiatives when compared to other industries. The overwhelming majority (79%) of these respondents also say they do not have 100% visibility into the condition of products in their supply chain during the last mile of delivery.

The survey offers up the following suggestions to mitigate losses in the supply chain:

  • Track hard attributes such as location, temperature, vibration, and humidity
  • Track soft attributes in the business process context such as purchase orders and payment terms, and in the environmental context such as weather, and traffic conditions
  • Enable visibility and tracking by creating a digital model of the various supply chain components to perform real-time analysis
  • Install an enterprise-wide messaging system to track soft handoffs through soft attributes within the organization and across companies. Using this method should also remove blind spots in tracking hard handoffs.

Download the report here.

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