Most biopharmaceutical manufacturers use a network of logistics service providers (LSPs) to deliver warehousing, transport and distribution services, and they are usually linked using customized, electronic, point-to-point connections.
But this model can have major time and cost challenges when creating these connections. Updating or changing the links may also be expensive and the effort needed may hamper a company’s ability to quickly respond to changing market demands.
And despite a growing need for companies to monitor the condition and location of shipments using smart sensors and/or the ‘internet of things’, there is no single dominant technical solution. However, there is an opportunity for an integration platform to act as a ‘data broker’, allowing manufacturers to adopt different solutions for different regions and partners.
To overcome these challenges, BioPhorum has published the Logistics Service Provider Integration paper, which gives an overview of the current needs of manufacturers and their technical integration with their network of LSPs. It also contains a high-level requirements specification for a common, cloud-based, integration platform.
“In BioPhorum’s LSP IT workstream, I appreciated the open conversations on processes and key pain points, and the validation that there was truly a need for an industry solution to develop a more efficient LSP integration solution,” said Marc Schelbaum, Associate Director of Global Product Development and Supply (GPS) IT–Global Logistics at BMS.
“I hope that the team’s efforts to establish a common set of requirements and recommendations will ultimately lead to a more focused awareness of this important opportunity in our industry, and that our current or future suppliers will be eager to take on the challenge,” added Schelbaum.
The aim is to reduce the need for customization and multiple point-to-point solutions and the specification will help technology companies when they are developing new products and services. It will also allow manufacturers to be flexible and cost-effective when using multiple LSPs.
Informal benchmarking across several BioPhorum member companies indicates that use of a ‘collaboration hub’ will deliver a 50–70% saving in time and cost when linking to a new partner (based on a current connection time of 6–9 months). These benefits would be realized by both partners making the new connection.
“During multiple workshops, we expressed the needs of our company and the manufacturing industry in general,” said Donatien Menu, Supply Chain IT manager at Takeda. “We want to raise awareness to software vendors that there are unmet needs with real benefits for many industry stakeholders if an LSP integration solution was available.”
The collaboration plans to engage proactively with potential suppliers. It is hoped that this paper will stimulate consideration from suppliers in developing and offering solutions that will meet cross-industry expectations and requirements.