In a world where everything from your movies and food to your car rides is on-demand, it’s no surprise that the same “instant gratification” mentality is seeping into the healthcare industry. Patients want faster, more convenient access to treatment and medicine. As a result, on-demand pharmaceutical services are growing. Here’s a quick look at the evolution and corresponding challenges:
Emerging Pharmaceutical Distribution Models
New online and home-based healthcare distribution models are gaining traction and have huge potential to be market disruptors. A few of the most popular include online pharmacies, point-of-care diagnostics, and remote monitoring—all of which are expected to continue growing . Also, a significant number of distribution models bypass wholesalers completely and offer direct-to-patient delivery. Add in subscription programs and it’s never been faster or easier for patients to receive prescriptions, without any middle men. Direct-to-pharmacy and direct-to-hospital B2B e-commerce models are other models with the potential to upend and reshape distribution processes.
Challenges With On-Demand
These new distribution models and push for on-demand delivery means pharmaceutical companies are being forced to adapt. The priority will be creating processes that allow for easily scaling up or down according to consumer demand, as well as providing an integrated customer experience via an omnichannel strategy. (Think Amazon—that is the gold standard for omnichannel expertise.)
The ability to integrate and automate a smooth (and accurate) flow of information across a supply chain’s various technologies remains a challenge yet to be conquered, and impacts everyone from manufacturers to shippers and warehouse managers. This lack of integration stands as the primary pitfall of on-demand delivery.
The supply chain is driven by customer demand and narrow timelines. Technology without clean integrations to support on-demand services will lead to disjoined coordination, mismanaged inventory, and unreliable deliveries. For example, many pharmaceutical products have expiration dates and/or require temperature management. If carriers don’t have the ability to monitor temperature or a warehouse doesn’t use the First-Expire-First-Out (FEFO) policy, the product integrity is compromised.
That being said, the challenge of integration is a surmountable one and pharmaceutical companies are motivated and incentivized to do just that. Timely fulfillment and on-demand delivery of pharma products is a reality of the near future.
To learn about protecting pharmaceutical cargo within the supply chain, contact Falvey Cargo.