Experts share their take on the role of digital supply chains in the post-COVID world

Freight Matters

Importance of digital transformation, building supply chain resiliency  and the overall impact of COVID-19 in the current state of supply chains were some of the pertinent topics that set off a trail of enriching inputs and discussions on Freight Matters, an interactive webinar organised by Pando Corp.

The event saw two renowned supply chain leaders-Charles Brewer and Brett Marshall from different spheres – pharma supply chain and logistics, share their take on the role of digital supply chains in the post-COVID world with Pando Corp’s Chief Revenue Officer, Ashok Vasan.

Charles Brewer is a global logistics executive with more than 35 years of experience in the areas of post, parcel, international shipping, and e-commerce, primarily with DHL currently leading all operational aspects of Canada Post. Joining Charles was Brett Marshall, the corporate head of quality assurance at Singapore-based Zuellig Pharma with close to three decades of experience across executive management, logistics, and supply chain, business process transformation, and quality assurance in the Pharma industry.

By making a rather unusual but interesting comparison, Mr Brewer used the example of Kayaks to show the diversity and oddity of orders, logistics operators received and the increased volumes they had to handle over the past six months. A month back at Canada Post, they were delivering volumes forecasted to be handled in 2029 with the same infrastructure signifying the acceleration in capacity growth due to the crisis.

Knowing the scale at which the disruptions occur, Brett elaborated on how the pharmaceutical supply chain stays resilient through these tough times. He attributed the good manufacturing and distribution practices as reasons for better risk awareness in the pharma supply chain despite the slow adoption of digitisation.  Mr Marshall noted how there was a rising trend of imbibing transparency in the supply chain and the usage of data, along with patient-centricity in the pharma sector.

While looking to automate and bring visibility in logistics, Charles shared key pointers on how logistics automation is being tackled by the industry widely. Optimising existing automation in the same infrastructure, adding incremental physical space modules to manage more volumes, and leveraging technology judiciously for being more productive were his observations.

Brett of Zuellig Pharma highlighted how they had to ensure the availability of sterile packaging (glass vials) and how critical it was to maintain the viable temperature from point of manufacture to transportation and distribution to patients. Zuellig Pharma, being one of the largest distributors in Asia, has a good infrastructure in terms of cold rooms, packaging systems, and monitoring devices with a blockchain tracker being implemented to track products from manufacturer to customers for product integrity.

“In demand planning, using data analytics to have a better insight on what’s likely to come gives the ability to have the right number of people in the right place at the right time to handle the volume.”

~Charles Brewer, COO, Canada Post

“The requirement will be for the industry to build capacity to be able to store the vaccines at that sub-zero temperature range. Capacity needs to be added to packaging solutions which will be more highly dependent on dry ice as a medium for keeping the temperature within the required range.”

~Brett Marshall, Corporate head of quality assurance at Zuellig Pharma

The complete event can be accessed by clicking here.

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