Week in Review: Adapting to Tomorrow—Bridging Pharma Gaps, Changing Consumer Habits & Reinforcing Food Logistics

December 29, 2023

February 26, 2024


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Welcome to our first weekly newsletter, where we dive deep into the dynamic world of supply chain management to focus on the strategies and initiatives reshaping logistics. We’re brimming with recent insights on how key players in the pharmaceutical and food sectors are adapting to our changing world—from tackling drug shortages and consumer spending shifts to enhancing cold chain logistics and strengthening food supply chains against climate threats. We’re excited to get started!

Tackling U.S. Drug Shortages: A $35 Million Initiative

The United States is facing critical drug shortages. To combat this, the Biden administration announced a late November 2023 initiative to allocate $35 million towards boosting domestic production of sterile injectable medicines. This investment is the latest move in a broader initiative to strengthen the nation's supply chains—especially in the pharmaceutical sector.

The Scale of the Shortage

Recent statistics show a concerning trend in drug availability. As of July 2023, the U.S. faced 309 active drug shortages, a near-record high. These shortages span various drug categories, including chemotherapy, hormonal medicines, and prefilled syringes. Generics are even more affected by drug shortages, largely due to their supply chain's reliance on raw materials from countries such as China and India. Experts say this situation underscores the urgent need for more diversified and transparent sourcing methods.

Beyond Funding: Seeking Holistic Solutions

While the $35 million investment marks a significant step, experts argue for broader reforms. Issues like drug pricing and the influence of pharmacy benefits managers—who control about 89% of the market—are pivotal. The Department of Health and Human Services plans to appoint a supply chain resilience and shortage coordinator to address these challenges further, in collaboration with the Department of Commerce and the Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response.

​​Consumer Spending Shifts in 2024: Groceries & Consumer Packaged Goods (CPGs)

As we approach 2024, consumers in the EMEA region are expected to spend less on groceries and CPGs due to ongoing financial challenges. This trend, highlighted in a recent study by AlixPartners, reflects how a broader economic climate—shaped by post-pandemic realities and geopolitical uncertainties—can impact consumer behavior and supermarket supply chains.

Reduced Frequency & Caution in Grocery Shopping

The study predicts a noticeable decline in the frequency of grocery shopping trips and a cautious approach to spending. Despite maintaining overall grocery spending levels, consumers could face a sharp drop in purchase volumes due to inflation. This shift necessitates retailers and CPG companies alike to adapt, focusing on value-for-money products and efficient product assortments to retain consumer interest.

Impact on Non-Essential Retail & Leisure Categories

Spending cutbacks are hitting more than just groceries—they’re affecting non-essential retail and leisure, too. With consumers focusing more on essentials, retailers in non-essential categories must also pivot towards offering more cost-effective options—and enhancing the value proposition of their products to remain competitive.

Strengthening Global Cold Chain Logistics: Pharma.Aero & Cool Chain Association Partnership

Pharma.Aero and the Cool Chain Association (CCA) have forged a groundbreaking partnership, marked by a recent Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). It's an alliance that could bridge the gap between their expertise, and set a new precedent in unifying pharmaceutical and perishable logistics.

Collaborative Efforts for Industry Advancement

The MoU underscores a mutual commitment to enhancing collaboration and transparency between the life sciences and perishable supply chains. Both organizations plan to undertake joint industry projects to set new benchmarks for cross-industry collaboration. Trevor Caswell of Pharma.Aero and Stavros Evangelakakis of the CCA share a mutual vision of leveraging their combined expertise to elevate the quality and safety of temperature-controlled logistics.

A Unified Approach for Efficiency & Sustainability

The collaboration seeks to compare critical control points in both perishable and pharmaceutical supply chains, using IATA's CEIV Pharma and Fresh certifications as a basis. The goal is to identify shared standards to enhance cold chain efficiency. Nicola Caristo of the CCA emphasizes the potential for streamlined operations, reduced waste, and increased profitability. Secretary General Frank Van Gelder also emphasizes how the initiative aligns with Pharma.Aero's mission to drive industry growth through strategic partnerships.

Boosting Food Supply Chain Resiliency with $30M Grants

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the California Department of Food and Agriculture are injecting a substantial $30 million in grants to strengthen core segments of the food supply chain. The goal? To ramp up processing and distribution efficiency—and enhance the chain's resilience.

Strategic Investments for Supply Chain Improvement

In California, the focus is on projects that enhance the capacity for processing, aggregation, and distribution of agricultural products. This funding is crucial for small and midsize producers, aiming to expand access to nutritious food options and bolster overall supply chain resilience. CDFA Secretary Karen Ross acknowledges the lessons learned from recent challenges in the supply chain, appreciating the USDA's foresight in reinforcing the nation's food systems.

Expanding Across Key States

The USDA's commitment extends beyond California, too—with similar grant programs recently announced in Nebraska ($2.5 million) and Rhode Island ($1.5 million) under the USDA ARS Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure Program. These grants are part of a broader USDA effort dedicating up to $420 million to strengthen local and regional food systems nationwide.

Pharma Sector's Response to Climate Challenges

The pharmaceutical industry is gearing up to confront the challenges posed by climate change, focusing on adapting supply chains to withstand environmental impacts. This proactive stance is essential in light of recent discussions at the COP28 climate conference—and increasing extreme weather events affecting production facilities.

Supply Chain Resilience Against Climate Disasters

Recent incidents including the tornado at Pfizer's North Carolina factory, floods in Dubai, and droughts in South America and Australia have stressed the need for pharmaceutical companies to bolster their supply chain resilience to ensure the stability of pharmaceutical production and distribution. Experts such as Dr. Ivan Lugovoi emphasize the importance of preparing for such climate-related risks to not only maintain operations—but to appeal to partners and investors.  

Strategic Adaptations for Future-Proofing Pharma

Pharmaceutical companies must confront two primary risks: supply disruptions and meeting product demand. Mitigating these risks involves strategies such as building inventory, extending planning for long-term challenges, and temperature control in storage and transportation. Moreover, larger companies may diversify production facilities to ensure continuous supply—while the industry as a whole explores shifts towards more sustainable practices including renewable energy use and green chemistry in manufacturing.

Securing Tomorrow: Streamlining Supply Chains with Tive's Solutions

From addressing drug shortages, adapting to consumer spending shifts, and finding ways to strengthen food logistics and pharmaceutical supply chains, each supply chain challenge presents an opportunity for growth and efficiency. This is whereTive's cutting-edge visibility solution comes into play—offering a seamless integration of technology and logistics to meet the following diverse needs:

  • Trackers: Tive trackers, namely the world-famous Solo 5G, provide real-time, end-to-end visibility—ensuring that shipments are monitored closely and managed efficiently to reduce risk and improve delivery success.
  • Tive Tag: A revolutionary paper-thin logger, Tive Tag enables easy monitoring of shipment temperature, ensuring product integrity and establishing an audit trail of temperature data—for enhanced traceability and quality assurance.
  • Platform: Tive's cloud platform offers a comprehensive view of location and condition data for all shipments, enabling integrated tracking and proactive management of logistics operations.
  • Industries: Catering to various industries, Tive ensures that shipments—whether in life sciences, food and beverage, or high-value goods—are delivered on time and in perfect condition.

Stay ahead of the curve as supply chains evolve. Get started with Tive to confront any challenges that come your way with confidence and efficiency.

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