LogiPharma Europe 2024: World Courier President Talks Mitigating Supply Chain Risks


In an interview with Pharma Commerce Editor Nicholas Saraceno at LogiPharma Europe, Nick Porter, President, World Courier discusses mitigating supply chain risks, the future of artificial intelligence in pharma logistics, and more.

PC: Nowadays, why is there not only a growing importance, but an increasing use of real-time monitoring and digital tools that can mitigate supply chain risks and enable timely deliveries?

Porter: We were really excited to launch real time location monitoring last year for all for all customers and all shipments using our multi-use packaging as a standard. We think this is a really important step forward in providing real time data on that shipment. It does two things, it gives the customer greater peace of mind, and most importantly, helps us mitigate risk. We've had multiple examples where we've been able to intervene in a shipment that's maybe been offloaded airside. We wouldn’t necessarily have known that for several hours. But we could see that from the real time location monitoring device, and intervene much quicker and either recover that shipment, protect the temperature, stability, but also potentially bucket on the next available flight, which we would have missed if we hadn't had that real time alert that something had gone awry, and been able to intervene. So, we've seen that, and our customers have definitely seen huge benefit in real time location monitoring, as well as giving us just a huge amount of data points on what's moving through the network at any time, also helping us to optimize supply chains.

PC: How do you envision the future of AI and analytics in specialty pharma logistics?

Porter: If I link that back to real time data, that provides immense data, such as the number of shipments. Real time data covers everything. AI alleviates the need for human eyes on data. We can build programmatic rules to start to identify that data and learn from it when something’s out of its normal pattern. Of course, you want human intervention, but you don’t want people looking at things that don't need the attention. AI and learning really helps to identify both through us telling the system the rules. If it goes outside of this, flag it. But also, it helps the system with learning what is normal and saying that it might not be one of the rules. That’s incredibly powerful in in terms of understanding exceptions.

PC: How can technology and data be leveraged to increase visibility across the supply chain and improve forecasting?

Porter: I think visibility is power, and it enables better decision making. One of the big themes here today has been sustainability. With data, we can make better decisions that improve sustainability in the supply chain, being able to eliminate an unnecessary leg and reduce weight consolidate shipments, but increasingly customers are talking about sustainability as their number one priority. This includes reducing miles traveled, reducing kilos, moved, health, sustainability, all of that data helps drive those decisions that enable that to happen.

PC: With the continued growth in the CGT space, we’ve seen an increase in the demand for cold chain (and cryogenic) storage capacity. What’s needed to support the unique requirements of these products?

Porter: World Courier has had the advantage of working will cell and gene therapies for over a decade now. I think we've learned immensely as that has developed. Over the last decade, t's been focused on autologous therapies. These are not only incredibly valuable from a commercial sense, they’re also lifesaving. They are unique to a patient and incredibly important. As we see the move now into more therapies coming into the pipeline, the need for cryo storage capabilities increases. There’s always going to be pressure to mitigate risk to make sure it's cost effective. But the but the cryo packaging alone doesn't solve the supply chain needs. You need network where you have LN2 recharging capabilities. You also need the end-to-end supply chain network, and I think that’s where World Courier really has a strong proposition in cell and gene therapy.

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