Perspectives

The digital edge in life sciences

The business case for digital supply networks

​Digital supply networks in life sciences can help optimize operations and inventories and free up capital for R&D investment. Life sciences digital supply networks can also help improve customer satisfaction, fulfill regulators' requests, and speed up innovation.

Life sciences digital supply networks: Value creator for staying competitive

Digitizing the supply chain in life sciences has significant potential for improving business outcomes. In The digital edge in life sciences: The business case for digital supply networks, Deloitte Consulting LLP outlines how business benefits can be achieved by transforming a traditional supply chain into a life sciences digital supply network. Unlike traditional supply chains, which are linear and siloed, digital supply networks are dynamic, interconnected systems that can more readily incorporate ecosystem partners and evolve over time. This shift from linear, sequential supply chain operations to an interconnected, open system of supply operations could lay the foundation for how life sciences companies compete in the future.

Digital supply networks in life sciences can address challenges with optimal management of inventories, reliability, and visibility of products moving across the supply chain, or operations efficiencies and product yields. In view of the forces affecting life sciences—pricing pressures, the emergence of value-based and personalized medicine, and the expectations of customers and regulators—creating a life sciences digital supply network can be a logical new opportunity to deliver value.

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Shift from traditional supply chain to digital supply network

Triggers for digital supply networks in life sciences

The primary factors driving digital supply networks in life sciences are pricing pressures, growth in personalized medicine, and changing expectations from regulators and customers.

Pricing pressures: Pressures to increase efficiency and decrease waste have grown dramatically over the past few years. Life sciences digital supply networks can help alleviate pricing pressures through:

  • Inventory tracking and analytics to control inventory levels, decrease waste, and increase capacity utilization
  • Connected sensors and machine learning to predict maintenance and increase equipment up time
  • Data-driven methods to cut compliance costs and prevent compliance-based business disruptions

Personalized medicine: Personalized medicine is poised for significant growth. Life sciences digital supply networks can help enable personalized medicine through:

  • Technologies such as 3D printing and data analytics that enable design and production of customized medical devices or medicines
  • The connectedness, transparency, and speed of the digital supply network enabling transportation and delivery of personalized medicines

Expectations of tech-savvy customers and regulators: The digital revolution has created a significant increase in the level of expectations from customers across all industries. Digital supply networks in life sciences can help meet customers' and regulators' expectations through:

  • Electronic tracking and connectedness that enables hospitals to get the supplies they need when they need them and cut waste
  • Data and analytics that enable regulators to receive data-driven reports or results of investigations

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Benefits of life sciences digital supply networks

In addition to helping life sciences organizations address pricing pressures, growth in personalized medicine, and changing expectations of regulators and customers, life sciences digital supply networks will offer direct and specific benefit to key business drivers:

  • Provider enablement: Analytics-based demand sensing
  • Supply assurance and risk: Data-driven visibility
  • Optimizing assets use: Preventive maintenance
  • Rapid product innovation: The merging of physical-digital
  • Digital supply network-enabled quality and compliance

Read more about The rise of the digital supply network on Deloitte Insights

To learn more about how to move forward with the transformation to a digital supply network, download our full report, The digital edge in life sciences: The business case for digital supply networks.

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