GIB Blog

Vaccines – are they a challenge for more than just scientists?

From production to distribution, it’s safe to say that logistics plays its part. The term “logistics” refers to all the different players, infrastructures, resources, processes and activities which are involved from the supply of raw materials to the distribution of the finished product. This article provides an in-depth look at the supply chain for vaccines within the pharmaceutical sector.

Vaccine is the word on everyone’s lips, and the need for widespread distribution means that service has to be streamlined, transparent and fast. However, the entire process depends on the vaccine being available on a large scale as well as being kept at very cold temperatures. The Covid-19 vaccine poses a challenge for all mankind, and one that isn’t just restricted to scientific research. Both the companies producing the vaccine and the logistics operators ensuring its distribution will be required to carry out their operations on an unprecedented scale. During this particular time in history, we can’t forget the value of working together. When we talk about the vaccine, it’s not only the pharmaceutical industry that’s involved. It’s clear that interdisciplinarity has never been more important. Once a formula has been found for the vaccine, that’s when other sectors step in to help out the pharmaceutical industry. One example is the high tech, whose highly advanced, customized equipment is needed to streamline the production process. What’s more, the chemical industry needs to study how to source the necessary raw materials, and let’s not forget the manufacturing, which has to guarantee the cold chain during packaging and transportation. It’s not just a challenge for science, but for the supply chain as well.

Supply chain resilience

The processes involved in the supply chain need to be both sound and flexible, capable of adapting to changes and effectively responding to any problems or unexpected events. By ‘sound’ we mean that processes need to be very well organized, but at the same time it must be possible to quickly adapt them to the numerous variables involved. Supply chain leaders need a resilient service, one centered around the health of the patient. The term ‘resilience’ is perhaps a little overused when it comes to talking about the supply chain, but nothing better describes the nature of the work. The pandemic has simply added new factors to an environment which was already dynamic and volatile, and above all it has increased the amount of information the supply chain receives.

In light of these facts, it’s technology that makes the real difference, as it makes it possible for all the links in the chain to coordinate.

That’s where GIB comes into play, helping to improve production processes with a centralized IT platform. A single dashboard provides up-to-date information on the status of production orders to increase transparency. Moreover, the application enables you to initiate planning changes directly from the dashboard. This all falls under the concept of “real time monitoring,” whose objective is to make the entire production chain more efficient so that long-term data can be harmonized with live demand, thus drastically reducing the inefficiencies and losses arising in unharmonized approaches. New technologies, when applied to the field of science, are a key tool for speeding up production process and preventing stoppages. In particular, GIB Planning lets you assess your production planning at a glance, directly from SAP. It features an early warning system for capacity problems, which enables you to take the necessary action in the event of conflicts or when production is overloaded. All the important information, such as missing parts and exceptions, can be forwarded to alternative production sites using the drag and drop function, allowing you to evaluate any changes in real time. Two of the most important aspects include the ability to manage problems as soon as they arise, and the option to simulate alternative scenarios to determine which is best. Prompt action and the ability to improve in real time —these two aspects are key to the production of all products, but they are even more crucial for vaccine production.

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