Category : Pharmacy
...says Angelos Orfanos, President, Life Sciences and Healthcare, DHL and Global Customer Solutions (GCS). A member of the GCS Global Senior Management Team leading the DHL Life Science Steering Committee, he discusses the importance of warehousing management in the pharma supply chain in light with the one that DHL has.
What is your business mantra?
We have undertaken a lot of commercial responsibilities. We take care of warehousing, express and freight that are considered to be the pillars of logistics. Thus, we offer customized solutions for logistics along with the required training and best access. We have always been following the 'Strategy 2015' that encompasses our approach in its entirety. Further, for the last few years since the pharma industry has shown stable growth, we have been inclined to make considerable investment in this sector. We hope that this will help us in accelerating the success of both the
industry and company.
How have you customized your offerings for the life sciences space?
DHL globally partners with the top 20 leading pharma companies.
• An investment in a 7,000 sq. ft. facility at the Free Trade Zone (FTZ) in Chennai with plans to add more facilities across India
• All sites will be certified with our global internal standards and local certifications that are required by state/country
• DHL has a unique end-to-end offering across business units and will continue to provide customers with the possibility to manage their entire logistics and supply chain for life sciences products with a broad footprint and standardized processes across the region.
Warehouse is an essential component of an efficient supply chain. How important is it to provide an optimal warehousing facility?
DHL takes pride in bringing forth the Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) certified pharma warehouses. This is indeed the brainchild of true innovation. We have multi-use warehouses in Mexico, Brazil, the US and many other countries. In these warehouses, not only pharma companies can avail opportunities but also other segments can leverage on it. It makes the entire process much cost-effective. While discussing warehouse in the pharma logistics, it is essential to discuss the temperature controlling aspect of the said facility. To be precise, while dealing with clinical trials and stem cell research ingredients, pharma warehouses serve fruitful purpose. There are also customer service centers that monitor the logistics pattern of the supply chain from the beginning to the end. To cite an example, in Europe, there is a dedicated tracking system, cold chain transport solutions.
Nowadays, customers want more visibility and transparency. This is applicable more in case of clinical trial materials. Thus, warehouse management system is important. Further, it can be said that tracking and tracing is a vital component, and here the relevance of 2D bar coding comes into picture. Further, global organizations are also into organizing IT platforms that try to take care of most of the problems.
How important are regulations in this market?
Temperature variation between different countries makes the relevance of the regulations all the more mandatory. If a product is suitable for 45°C and then it has to go to the Middle East, then it is very essential to maintain the temperature regulations. In Brazil, labels are mandated. Thus, certain processes and various laws have to be kept in mind in this context. However, it is also necessary to remember that the laws vary according to the products.
What are your plans in India? How will it affect the bottom line of your business?
In India, we conduct business with both Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and big pharma. As far as the latter is concerned, we mostly deal with all MNCs.
Life sciences and healthcare is one of DHL's top sector priorities for the region. With the exponential rise of the pharma industry in India, there has been a parallel demand for cold chain logistics to move large volumes of pharmaceuticals from the manufacturing site to the end users. DHL is one of the major innovators in handling pharmaceutical, chemical and cold chain high value products. DHL's Life Science Competence Centres across India provide support to our customers globally, thus minimizing time and cost risks. This approach allows us to enhance our value proposition and provide true end-to-end solutions leveraging our local, regional and global network.
What are your predictions for the life sciences vertical?
Given the current economic landscape we have seen both an upswing as well as a downturn within the life sciences and healthcare sector. Increasingly, big pharma companies are looking for solutions to deal with underutilized networks, particularly as the patent cliff nears.
The industry is likely to maintain a growth rate of 15-20 per cent annually in the coming decade, according to various reports.
In the next decade, India's spend on healthcare will grow from the current 1 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and new patented drugs will be available in India much faster. Further, drugs will reach a large segment of the rural population. The growth of India and China, and the huge population in these two countries lure the who's who of the global pharma industry to these two countries. MNCs have a share of only 15 per cent of the domestic market and this is expected to grow to 25 per cent in the coming four to five years. Pressure to enforce more anti-counterfeiting features in products, non-tariff barriers and quality standards will force the industry to increase prices.
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