Executive Briefings

Coping With Complexity in Life Sciences Supply Chains

Designing, developing and deploying a global supply chain solution in the life sciences industry is easier said than done.

Today’s pharmaceutical, biotech and medical device companies are facing complexity based on new regulations, expirations and more. At Cognizant, a multinational digital consultant, these challenges impact life sciences clients in every region as they try to create global end-to-end supply chains, says Ramji Mani, the company's assistant vice president of supply chain.

“For every region, you have different regulations, different compliances, different rules and different packaging … and expiration also makes a huge impact on [supply chain],” Mani said in an interview at Kinexions, the annual event for Kinaxis customers and partners.

And unlike some other verticals, these companies must be able to do complete track-and-trace — right to the end patient.

To create order in the chaos, designing a global supply chain requires three things, he says.

1. The company needs an executive sponsor — “someone who actually says, hey, we need to get this thing done.”

2. You should have consensus-driven supply chain models. Cognizant uses Kinaxis RapidResponse software as a modeling tool to develop consensus across various regions on how to drive an S&OP process or supply-demand process.

3. You must get the packaging right. (Multiple languages make a lot of difference, too.)

“The complexity is huge, but consensus is a way to drive it,” Mani says. “One way we’ve been very successful in lots of life sciences companies is to design a global template, and then call out the nuances for each region separately — and then try to cater to needs of those business units.”

See video for full interview

Today’s pharmaceutical, biotech and medical device companies are facing complexity based on new regulations, expirations and more. At Cognizant, a multinational digital consultant, these challenges impact life sciences clients in every region as they try to create global end-to-end supply chains, says Ramji Mani, the company's assistant vice president of supply chain.

“For every region, you have different regulations, different compliances, different rules and different packaging … and expiration also makes a huge impact on [supply chain],” Mani said in an interview at Kinexions, the annual event for Kinaxis customers and partners.

And unlike some other verticals, these companies must be able to do complete track-and-trace — right to the end patient.

To create order in the chaos, designing a global supply chain requires three things, he says.

1. The company needs an executive sponsor — “someone who actually says, hey, we need to get this thing done.”

2. You should have consensus-driven supply chain models. Cognizant uses Kinaxis RapidResponse software as a modeling tool to develop consensus across various regions on how to drive an S&OP process or supply-demand process.

3. You must get the packaging right. (Multiple languages make a lot of difference, too.)

“The complexity is huge, but consensus is a way to drive it,” Mani says. “One way we’ve been very successful in lots of life sciences companies is to design a global template, and then call out the nuances for each region separately — and then try to cater to needs of those business units.”

See video for full interview