LogiPharma USA 2023: Navigating the E2E Global Pharma Supply Chain Using Digital Transformation


Panel discusses how digital transformation can best impact supply chains.

LogiPharma USA 2023 session, 'Navigating the E2E Global Pharma Supply Chain Using Digital Transformation' October 5, 2023. LogiPharma USA 2023, Boston, Mass. Image Credit: Nicholas Saraceno.

LogiPharma USA 2023 session, 'Navigating the E2E Global Pharma Supply Chain Using Digital Transformation' October 5, 2023. LogiPharma USA 2023, Boston, Mass. Image Credit: Nicholas Saraceno.

This year’s LogiPharma USA conference offered a discussion on how digital transformation has improved business processes, influenced by the pandemic.

In the panel: “Navigating the E2E Global Pharma Supply Chain Using Digital Transformation,” a group of professionals provided examples on how digital transformation has improved their business processes while looking to the future. The panel, led by Sath Rao, head of global manufacturing strategy, Zebra Technologies; included Stephen Wing, head of analytical & logistical services, integrated supply chain operations, process solutions value stream at MilliporeSigma; Eduardo De La Calle, director, regional supply, AstraZenaca; Navid Choudhury, director, demand planning, Novo Nordisk; Bobby Criss; head of data and analytics, Johnson & Johnson; and Wes Kerbuski, head, technology solutions, DeSpir Logistics.

The conversation began with panel members giving their thoughts on what the biggest current challenge is when it comes to digital transformation, also explaining what they believe what each company’s biggest challenge is specifically.

“I think that the big challenge in terms of digitization across this industry is lack of standards,” said Wing. “You can have management support, standards, and resources but if you don’t have standards, it’s hard to create an ecosystem. When it comes to challenges at our company, we’re trying to get product to our customers. Because it’s a highly regulated industry, the quality aspects are so important. Even if you get the product out on time, it doesn’t always meet quality requirements. So, the challenge is to be able to get the right data at the right time for the right people.”

De La Calle agreed. “I think industry wise; things get more complex,” he stated. “Internally for us, I think one of the biggest challenges would be the mindset. Getting people to trust the system and changing the mindset of using the browsers.”

Rao then asked each panelist to reflect on internal projects that they have led to successfully drive digital transformation.

“At J&J, we’ve started our process of transformation into a digital supply chain,’ said Criss. “As part of that, our digital operating model is starting to define some of the standards in the digital space and build those processes that we’re talking about around them. As part of this digital operating model, we’ve essentially partitioned our apps into different categories.”

“What we’re working on now is the ability to say, can we tradeoff between carbon customer experience and lead time reduction?” Criss continued. “Being able to have those types of capabilities at your hands comes after you can establish your data formations and process.”

Choudhury explained that Novo Nordisk is currently in the process of switching out its planning systems. “What we’re trying to do is change from a planning system that doesn’t fit our future needs to one that we believe will fit our needs,” he said. “What we’ve been doing in mitigating all planning between demand forecasting and planning, then operational planning, SLP, and long-term capacity planning of four to ten years.”

Kerbuski stated that with tools such as generative artificial intelligence (AI), a company can start using it to their advantage when working towards digital transformation. He also spoke about digital initiatives going on at DeSpir.

“Our main digital initiatives right now are looking to our visibility and condition monitoring of all our shipments,” he said. “We started out trying some of the commercially available tracking platforms. However, given the commodities that we ship, we found that they didn’t fit our use cases based on customer needs. Recently, we’ve taken on the initiative to build out our own IoT platform that consumes various API services, giving us the ability to customize to each of our customers.”

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