Ahead of the Curve

Ahead of the Curve

A look into how opportunities can be tapped into to help boost business in the Life Sciences Contract Logistics industry.

Businesses have seen a major overhaul in recent years and so have the industries supporting them. The perception of logistics has evolved to a completely different paradigm- it was initially perceived to be a mechanism of transporting goods from one point to another. But it is now being viewed as a comprehensive process from production to distribution with complexities present every step of the way. The appreciation of this vertical of supply chain- Contract Logistics, has deepened since the age of information has brought forth the multitude of innovative solutions involved in its working. Contract Logistics is a wide-ranging series of sequential processes that need to be working in complete harmony to complete the cycle of production, to transport and ultimately to the point of sale, where each milestone requires a unique skill set to execute. The expertise required at each juncture is what makes Contract Logistics matchless in functionality and in complexity.
This holds true especially for the Life Sciences industry, where the recent boost in consumer demand and customer centric service is no secret. Given the criticality of the industry and its constant state of evolution, supply chain and logistics prove essential enablers in the process of delivering products. It is imperative that the hurdles, especially ones unique to India, are overcome to distribute the right product at the right time with the right quality. To truly bring Indian logistics up to the world class, defeating these hurdles and streamlining the processes around it is paramount.

India has a history of proven capabilities when it comes to the manufacture of cost-effective bio-similars, formulations and vaccines. The vast talent pool of the country puts it in a unique position for growth and the advancements in the industry are testament to the fact. In fact, industry experts predict India to dominate the LS market at a global scale in the coming decade. The logistical processes involved in LS are the backbone of its growth. To realize the industry’s full potential, there exist some glaring inefficiencies, which prove to be opportunities which can be exploited.
India lags in development of supporting infrastructure, which proves to be a bottleneck in the supply chain system as a whole. For instance, the lack of temperature-controlled storage at airports is a hinderance and demands investment in portable cold-storage units which add to the overall expense. Infrastructural upgrade can save on cost and time, the advantages of which can directly impact contract logistics service quality. When it comes to regulatory support in areas like customs clearances, India has come a long way recently. But it still has ways to go before it can justifiably be called world class.
Additionally, road development is the spine of a good logistical infrastructure. When it comes to Life Science logistics, prompt road maintenance is essential to facilitate manufacturing hub connectivity, which is vital in the area of Contract Logistics. In this regard, the Government has taken big strides and developed detailed plans to upgrade connectivity.

The move to opportunities being harnessed is also evident by India’s Logistics Performance Index (LPI) that is showing slow but sure improvement. India is poised to be on par with the performances of top countries in the world. The Government has concrete strategies in place to tackle each pieces of the puzzle based on the top six dimensions used by the LPI to rank countries- Customs, Infrastructure, International Shipments, Logistics Service Quality, Tracking & Tracing & Shipment Timeliness. These have also served has indicators of opportunities where the industry can move up and there have been visible changes which make us hopeful for a bright future.
To find prospects where upgrades can be made, a viable strategy is to have a mix of LPI metrics and the identification of areas where contract logistics plays a key role in LS.

Enabler: Contract Logistics is a major enabler and its integrity and efficiency are absolutely crucial.

Cost: Pharmacy and Life Science companies need to be cost effective, given the competition and cost pressures. An optimized contract logistics system can make a world of difference in keeping the cost down for such companies.

Direct impact: Due to the sensitive nature of the Life Science products, the quality that is held up by the contract logistics service provider has a direct bearing on the health of the consumer. Due to this, it is important that the highest standards be maintained during operations.

Controllability and flexibility: In the dynamic pharma and LS industries, companies are sometimes faced with ad-hoc requirements such as product recalls, or product diversions to new locations. These situations become manageable only if the contract logistics service provider is flexible and traceable.

Given the dynamic landscape of the industry, the best way to get ahead is to cross-reference the metrics with winning traits. A healthy balance between the strengths and areas of improvement is what is required to stay ahead.

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