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10/14/2014 | Pharmaceutical industry confirms visible and flexible supply chains as most important logistics trends

Better supply chain visibility and increasing flexibility continue to be important trends in the Life Sciences and Healthcare (LSH) industry. They are essential for guaranteeing product safety and integrity. They also enable more efficient demand-driven supply chains and allow the industry to satisfy new regulatory standards as well as distribution requirements of innovative products. At the same time, they indicate the growing importance of logistics process management and outsourcing in this highly sensitive industry.

These trends, initially identified in last year's DHL study "Key Logistics Trends in Life Sciences 2020+", have been re-confirmed by participants at the DHL 2014 Global Life Sciences & Healthcare (LSH) conference in Shanghai this summer. More than 170 representatives from the world's largest pharmaceutical and medical devices companies attended the forum.

Besides carrying out studies and surveys, DHL actively pursues an intensive dialogue with its customers in the healthcare sector. The resulting profound industry expertise allows the logistics services provider to develop reliable and flexible solutions and to act as a globally engaged LSH industry partner. "By developing tailored and innovative logistics services, we allow our customers to adapt to the market's complex future challenges already today," says Angelos Orfanos, President Life Sciences and Healthcare, DHL Customer Solutions & Innovation.

Developing reliable and flexible solutions
In the latest customer survey, three-quarters of the companies in the LSH sector confirmed the importance of better visibility and flexibly designed supply chains. At the same time, three additional core theses of the DHL study in 2013 have also become more important from the customer perspective: (1) 58 percent of those surveyed consider more differentiated supply chains by product categories as a highly relevant trend (2013: 48%); (2) geographically expanding their own logistics capabilities to tier 2 and tier 3 cities and rural areas were considered particularly important by 31 percent of the interviewees (2013: 24%); finally, (3) a fifth of the survey participants thought that it was highly relevant to develop own-brand e-commerce frontends and distribution channels to the end consumer (2013: 13%). The survey results also included a ranking of issues the market considers to be priorities. The four issues at the top of the list were temperature control/cold chain, cost efficiency, access to and growth in emerging markets and compliance to regulatory requirements.

Thanks to its dedicated LSH unit, DHL is in an excellent position to meet the increasingly challenging demands of its customers with innovative products and services. So far successfully implemented projects include, for example, DHL Thermonet, which offers seamless temperature transparency along the entire supply chain, DHL Medical Express for transporting urgent medical or biological products, and the DHL Recall Solution to efficiently manage sensitive recall campaigns.

The "Key Logistics Trends in Life Sciences 2020+" study is available online at www.dhl.com/lshc-trends.

Econsense

Forum for Sustainable Development of German Business e.V.

econsense is an association of leading, globally active companies and organisations of German business specializing in the area of sustainable development and corporate social responsibility (CSR). Founded in 2000 on the initiative of the Federation of German Industries (BDI), the goal of econsense is to provide a dialogue platform and think tank, with the dual objectives of advancing sustainable development in business and assuming social responsibility.