Supply Chain Disruptions Endanger Pharmaceutical Supply Chains

Highly complex supply chains require precise risk management

Companies experience a large number of disruptions in the supply chain each year, some of which have a significant negative impact on the economic balance. This is the result of a survey conducted by the management consultancy Miebach in Frankfurt/Main Germany. Inquiries were made with 100 companies from industry and commerce, including chemical and pharmaceutical companies.

In 14.4 percent of the cases surveyed, direct suppliers were responsible for disruptions, closely followed by logistics service providers with 13.6 percent. Although the risks are obvious, many manufacturers are outsourcing their production and logistics processes. These measures might counter the increase in competitive pressure, but often also lead to less transparency along the value chain.

For many businesses it is extremely important, that sensitive products are transported under the same conditions along the supply chain –for example in the pharmaceutical industry. Today, pharmaceutical products are manufactured and distributed globally, which makes it much more difficult to minimize risks like e.g. cold chain interruptions. These risks can be minimized via a digital supply network.  Elemica’s Digital Supply Network captures data from supply chain trading partners across each transaction, communication, and collaboration delivering transparency across the value chain. In addition, Elemica also offers the Elemica See solution which tracks global incidents, supply chain threat detection, qualification, early warning, and network assessment. The network connects these incidents to purchase orders and shipments. As a result customers are able to assess potential impact for stakeholders.

Risk management is an important factor

So while it is obvious that the highest risks and disruptions are seen with external partners, only around one third of respondents defined a cross-company supply chain risk management process. Regarding the pharmaceutical industry, where the health of patients is at risk and should be improved by the products, the guarantee of a trouble-free supply chain and high-quality products is an important prerequisite. The reasons that lead to this lack of transparency are various. One important factor is missing cooperation between supply chain partners in risk management. Additional factors range from insufficient availability of resources, to lack of transparency, lack of technical prerequisites to a lack of know-how in implementing the initiatives.



Holistic supply chain risk management can make an important contribution to economic success and risk minimization in all areas of a company and enable faster, more efficient solutions to disruptions. Technology solutions can play a decisive role in this.