Mahindra Logistics acing its pharma operations with customization at its core

In today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, customization is the key to meeting the demands of the customers, especially in the pharma vertical. Mahindra Logistics recognised this trend way ahead of its time and thus emphasized on customization, compliance, visibility, security, and sustainability in its operations. In a tête-à-tête with Vishal Barnabas, VP Consumer & Manufacturing, Mahindra Logistics, we delve into the complexities and regulatory standards about the transportation and storage of pharmaceutical products, as well as discover how Mahindra Logistics ensures strict adherence to these regulations. Additionally, we had some insights about their use of technological innovations for enhanced efficiency and end-to-end visibility of pharma goods and a lot more. Edited excepts follow:

Pharmaceutical goods require special regulatory requirements for transportation and storage. Can you tell us some of the unique complexities and regulatory requirements associated with the transportation and storage of pharmaceutical products? And, how do you at Mahindra Logistics ensure compliance with these regulations?

As known, pharmaceuticals have undergone a substantial increase in complexity in recent years, particularly post-COVID. The industry is also highly regulated and must comply with GMP (good manufacturing practice) and GDP (good distribution practices). Hence, these are the fundamental practices that Mahindra Logistics strictly adheres to for managing the logistics and supply chain of the pharmaceutical industry.

What sets us apart at Mahindra Logistics is our decades of experience and understanding the significance of quality management systems within the logistics Industry. Moreover, we maintain an extremely rigorous internal management system. Consequently, our approach follows a standardized work model where our SOPs are meticulously developed and extensively discussed.

We ensure that our personnel executing the SOPs are trained, and we conduct quarterly or biannual reviews to ensure continuous improvement. These reviews ensure that our SOPs are updated and aligned with the evolving practices of the company. Additionally, to ensure strict adherence to our processes and SOPs, we employ a layered process audit, which is a cornerstone of our operations.

Consequently, we maintain a rigorous QMS throughout our operations, with heightened stringency for pharmaceutical products. We recognize the need for robust quality control, thorough documentation, and seamless coordination across the entire supply chain within the pharmaceutical industry.

As consumer demands have changed, they now look for complete visibility of their products. What technological advancements or innovations are you using to provide efficiency and help your customers have end-to-end visibility on the pharma goods?

Visibility and track-and-trace are paramount within the supply chain, making them the most crucial factors. This applies not only to the pharmaceutical sector but to all our customers, regardless of their field. Our control tower, headquartered in Mumbai, diligently monitors and tracks every movement carried out by Mahindra Logistics for all our customers, including those in the pharmaceutical industry. Additionally, all our vehicles at Mahindra Logistics are equipped with GPS, enabling us to cater to our customers’ specific requirements. At Mahindra Logistics, we have a dedicated team focused on innovation, constantly exploring the adoption of emerging technologies. As an asset-light organization, our partnerships with business associates enable us to meet our customers’ specific requirements effectively. The cornerstone of our service is flexibility and customization, as these are the key elements in meeting the true demands of our customers.

Due to raw material distribution and scattered manufacturing across the globe, the pharma supply chain became even more complex during the pandemic. What lessons have been learned from these difficult times?

The pandemic exposed additional complexities. Regarding Pharma, new categories such as biopharmaceuticals have emerged, characterized by a unique manufacturing process and limited supply, among other factors. The primary lesson we have learned from this experience is the critical necessity for customization. A universal approach is no longer viable. Customization is imperative due to the global sourcing of raw materials, widespread establishment of manufacturing facilities, ubiquitous distribution networks, and the consequent heightened importance of coordination. Another insight gained is the ability to adapt swiftly and adjust oneself promptly to meet market demands.

This is an abridged version of the Interview published in the August edition of the Logistics Insider Magazine. To read the complete interview, click here.

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