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Over 100 transportation and supply chain leaders in health and personal care products logistics convened in Philadelphia (April 1—3) for the semiannual meeting of the Health and Personal Care Logistics Conference (HPCLC), the member-company association that has been promoting better healthcare logistics since the 1920s.
Michael Bleser, divisional vice president, Rx Supply Chain & Analytics for Walgreens Co. gave a keynote address about his company’s pacesetting, 10-year agreement with AmerisourceBergen. Walgreens had been on a path of “disintermediating” wholesalers until the agreement was struck last year; now they, as well as Walgreens’ partner Alliance Boots, have advanced the integration of their purchasing and distribution systems, on a global scale.
Following a theme of “Emerging Trends in Managing Global Supply Chain Integrity,” the meeting gave attendees a closer look at key dynamics in healthcare logistics currently: cold-chain practices; cargo security; product serialization and tracking. For cold chain, the watchword is the effect of the Good Distribution Practices codified in the European Union; a key friction point will be the management of room-temperature products. For Pharma, cargo thefts represented about 8% of overall trucking cargo theft in 2013. There is currently an elevated threat of theft from collusion between thieves and trucking drivers. With serialization, the guiding principle is to build a “data supply chain” that parallels the physical supply chain.
The spring meeting was also the swan song, of sorts, for John Cutler, legal counsel for HPCLC for nearly two decades; he is now retiring. Karyn Booth, a partner at Thompson Hine, is the new HPCLC legal counsel.
The agenda for the fall HPCLC meeting was set: “Emerging Trends in Managing Global Supply Chains,” to be held in Longboat Key, FL, on October 6—8. Jim Cafone, VP Global Network Supply Operations, Pfizer will be the keynote speaker. For information, visit www.hpclcnet.org.