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Beyond the Microscope: Real-Time Visibility as a Catalyst in Life Sciences Logistics

May 28, 2024

July 2, 2024

·

x min read

Managing a supply chain without visibility is like flying blind: you're left completely unaware of bottlenecks, causes of delays, and how to prevent issues from escalating. Now, imagine the polar opposite of this. How much easier would it be to have real-time insights into every aspect of your supply chain—including delays, temperature changes, and hiccups?

Nowhere is this level of insight more critical than in life sciences. Despite the groundbreaking potential of cell and gene therapies (CGT) to cure diseases, these medicines rely on complex, time-sensitive supply chains—which require delicate and precise conditions. Without real-time visibility, you run into a buzzsaw of risks: delays, spoilage, and errors resulting in wasted hours of work, millions of dollars in investments, and potentially the difference between life and death.

Background Context: The Imperative of Visibility in Modern Supply Chains

Before focusing on life sciences and the supply chains of emerging therapies, let's take a macro look at modern supply chains and the importance of visibility.

Enhanced Decision-Making Using Real-Time Data

Operating a supply chain blind is a surefire path to chaos. That's why real-time visibility solutions are so powerful as the foundation of digital transformation—they provide the transparency needed for truly informed decision making and responsiveness. According to the Tive 2024 State of Visibility Survey, 80% of supply chain leaders grasp this importance—yet only 53% currently leverage real-time visibility. And those who do possess a game-changing competitive edge.

With a real-time data stream at your fingertips, you're not just reacting to disruptions after the fact—you are empowered to spot potential issues miles away and take proactive measures to course correct. Shipment locations, temperature deviations, delays: this constant intelligence flow allows you to anticipate bottlenecks and ensure every delivery arrives in perfect condition. No more operating on outdated information or getting blindsided by crises that derail operations. This level of insight enables optimized routing, fine-tuned inventory management, and data-driven decisions that streamline processes and cut costs.  

Visibility as a Competitive Advantage

Visibility which pinpoints the exact, real-time location and condition of shipments is revolutionizing the industry as a competitive advantage. Companies are rapidly adopting Internet of Things (IoT) technology, with usage skyrocketing from 25% to 53% within just a year—also according to the Tive State of Visibility 2024 study.

The Tive study also reveals that digital transformation has become a priority for 89% of logistics leaders; and about 75% of said industry leaders recognize real-time visibility as a cornerstone of their digital strategy. It makes sense, considering customers also expect this level of insight—plus, it can go a long way in enhancing the customer experience. Moreover, beyond customer interactions, this transparency helps companies streamline their internal logistics, optimizing everything from warehouse operations to delivery routes.

A Focus on Life Sciences: Visibility Challenges & Opportunities

Now, let's turn our attention to life sciences—particularly CGT, which involves intricate supply chains and requires extremely low temperatures for viability. Guaranteeing these therapies reach patients under optimal conditions without precise tracking and real-time monitoring can seem like almost an impossible task.

Real-Time Visibility in Emerging Supply Chains

Being responsible for a supply chain that delivers next-generation, potentially life-saving treatments comes with high stakes. Every batch of raw materials holds the potential for life-changing therapies, but even minor variations in these materials can cause huge setbacks.

It's not just about mixing ingredients; it’s about guaranteeing that every component meets stringent quality standards—to avoid production disruptions and compliance issues. When it comes to scaling up production, the challenge multiplies. Keeping cells alive and functional through the complex process is as critical as it is delicate.

Now, think about the in-transit conditions these therapies require. Most CGTs must stay extremely cold—think beyond your freezer cold, more like Arctic winter cold—and arrive on time. A broken-down truck, a delayed flight, or even a brief power outage can mean the difference between a therapy remaining effective and reaching a patient or not.

It’s here where the magic of real-time tracking comes in. With technologies that allow for constant visibility and monitoring, any disturbance in the delivery process can be caught and addressed immediately—so that these critical treatments make it from lab to patient in perfect condition.

Visibility in Scaling Cell & Gene Therapies

Cell and gene therapies are the miracle cures of the future. And as this industry grows, there's an even bigger behind-the-scenes microscope on the logistics involved. CGTs comprised 10% of all U.S. FDA novel approvals in 2023, up from 7% in 2022 and 6% in 2021. However, as Tive’s recent webinar, "Boost Supply Chain Visibility with Today's Tech," reveals, the number of approved therapies is predicted to triple in 2024.

Robust visibility solutions aren't just nice-to-haves anymore; this explosion in demand is pushing supply chains to their limit. Despite how complex and demanding the cold chain is, imagine having a direct line to every vial's vitals—temperature, location, you name it. With real-time monitoring, you can keep a hawk-eye vigil over these high-value, high-risk shipments—from start to finish. One tiny deviation, and you're alerted to jump in before it's too late.  

Actionable Steps: Unleashing Real-Time Visibility in Life Sciences

Supply chain visibility is like having an X-ray vision for your business; never is that more apparent than in life sciences. Managing delicate materials, strict regulations, and complex logistics only scratches the surface as to why. So, for greater visibility, consider following these key steps:

  • Conduct a visibility audit: Take a hard look at your existing supply chain. Where are the blind spots and bottlenecks? With life sciences shipments, there's no room for error. You need to identify the highest-risk areas that require real-time monitoring.
  • Bring in the tracking experts: You don't have to reinvent the wheel. Partner with technology experts who've cracked the code on tracking, traceability, and analytics tailored for the life sciences industry.
  • Implement in phases: An overhaul of your entire supply chain is ambitious. Test the waters with a phased rollout focused on your most critical products and routes first.
  • Create data evangelists: Technology is only as good as the people using it, so be sure to train your team to maximize your visibility tools. Help them become data evangelists who optimize decision making.
  • Commit to continuous improvement: As great as your new visibility setup is, you can’t allow it to grow stale and stagnant. Dedicate resources to regularly upgrading and enhancing your capabilities—to keep pace with innovation and evolving regulations.

Clear Sight, Clear Strategy: Visibility Transforms Supply Chains

In the life sciences industry, every shipment can mean life or death. That’s why knowing the exact status of your therapies—from production to delivery—is critical, no matter how complex the supply chain. Real-time visibility is the best way to make that happen, and the long-term benefits of investing in visibility technologies include sustainable growth and resilience.

That's where Tive and its visibility solutions come into play. Logistics stay on track with Solo 5G trackers, an easy-to-use cloud platform, and round-the-clock shipment monitoring that make supply chains smoother and more reliable.

So why not put ideas into action? Take the first step today. Watch the full webinar "Boost Supply Chain Visibility with Today's Tech" to learn more, and book a demo.

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