Solving Challenges Within the Pharma Supply Chain


Webinar dives into the trends, technology, and market necessities that can help tackle these obstacles.

Image Credit: Adobe Stock Images/

Image Credit: Adobe Stock Images/

In a recent webinar1 hosted by Systech, a provider of digital identification and traceability solutions, and IDC, a market intelligence firm, the speakers were brought together in an effort to address the challenges presented by the pharmaceutical supply chain.

Titled “Solving the pharmaceutical supply chain challenges,” moderator Sreedhar Patnala, Systech’s general manager, was joined by IDC’s Simon Ellis, group VP of global supply chain practice, and Michael Townsend, research director, life sciences commercialization strategies.

Townsend expressed to Pharma Commerce that “IDC presented results and insights based on an all-industry supply chain survey conducted by IDC in April 2024, including 178 pharmaceutical and biotech IT executives, and a study from March 2024 of 100 pharma IT and LOB executives commissioned by Systech, which focused on pharma track & trace and serialization.”

Having said that, from a macro perspective, the webinar explored a multitude of concepts:

  • Life science and pharma industry trends
  • Pharma supply chain challenges
  • The value of discovery, along with trace-and-trace solutions
  • Challenges and solutions surrounding track-and-trace
  • A call to action

Ellis started off the presentation by noting how global supply chain disruptions continue to be front of mind for many pharma organizations, being that they directly impact operations and priorities.

There are various forces at play that are impacting the trends within the life science industry, including:

  1. Global political and economic uncertainty
  2. The rise of patient centricity and precision medicine
  3. The convergence of life sciences and healthcare value chains
  4. The growing cybersecurity threats
  5. Evolving regulatory landscape
  6. Talent shortage and workforce development
  7. The expansion of sustainability agendas

The IDC Worldwide Supply Chain survey from April 2024 that Townsend referenced also posed the question: how has the various global disruptions impacted your supply chain this year? Results showed, that over the past year, 46.3% of participants referenced a rise in supplier costs as a concern, while 28% are seeing continued challenges in filling positions with the right skills.

In order to address these issues, members of the pharma supply chain must take various steps to mitigate risk, and improving supply chain visibility was the top response at 36.5%, with track & trace/serialization being the top approach that organizations are taking. Of course, implementation is easier said than done—these aforementioned companies face a multitude of busines priorities daily, such as cost reductions/profitability, R&D investment, and regulatory compliance (in order of what respondents believed to be greatest priority to less of a priority).

“Although regulatory requirements are the tip of the spear for many pharmaceutical track and trace initiatives, there are other, sizable benefits that companies may not fully appreciate. Things like outbound supply chain traceability or cold chain monitoring can help to drive cost reduction or brand protection goals,” Ellis told Pharma Commerce.

This type of regulatory compliance that Ellis referenced featured item-level serialization for products regulated by the Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA) in the United States and the Falsified Medicines Directive (FMD) in the European Union. Of the 90 participants in each of the respective leadership surveys, 75.5% and 72.2% of respondents have implemented item-level serialization for their products.

In other Systech news, the company is unveiling a turnkey manual aggregation and rework solution for pharma manufacturers, contract manufacturing organizations, contract development and manufacturing organizations, repackagers, and wholesalers.2 The represents the first integrated offering since its purchase3 of Pharmacontrol Electronic GMBH—a European track and trace solutions provider—this past March, presenting various benefits such as simple integration with a turnkey, standalone units, maximized productivity, and scalable aggregation scenarios.

“Systech’s turnkey manual aggregation and rework solution, coupled with our supply chain Exception Manager offering, truly enables safe, connected supply chains. Our customers will realize enhanced operational productivity and continued regulatory compliance,” said Patnala.


1. Solving the pharmaceutical supply chain challenges. Systech. June 6, 2024. Accessed June 6, 2024.

2. Systech unveils turnkey solution for pharmaceutical rework and manual aggregation. Systech. June 10, 2024. Accessed June 13, 2024.

3. Systech expands product portfolio and global footprint through PCE acquisition. Systech. March 13, 2024. Accessed June 13, 2024.

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