The transportation of pharmaceutical goods is particularly challenging because of the characteristics of the products that are being shipped. Oftentimes, these items are sensitive, specialized, and have certain packaging or transportation requirements that other products do not have. Logistics is considered a mission-critical component of the pharmaceutical industry since its activities are extremely sensitive to time and quality assurance. This is because, fundamentally, pharma products require temperature-controlled storage and distribution, with strict regulatory control. The handling and transporting of these products have to be done properly, as well as full visibility to prevent damage, contamination, or theft.
What is TMS for Pharma?
A Transportation Management System (TMS) is a software system that is designed to aid companies in managing their logistics operations. A TMS has various tools that plan, execute, and monitor shipping activities, such as route planning and shipment tracking. A pharmaceutical company that utilizes a TMS to manage its transportation activities will be able to lower its costs by optimizing its transportation operations. A TMS has the following capabilities:
- Freight Procurement
- Automated Route Planning
- Vehicle and Shipment tracking
- Electronic Freight Invoicing
- Tracking Pharmaceutical Temperatures
Pharmaceutical Logistics Requirements
Pharmaceutical companies must manage inbound and outbound logistics for the transportation of raw materials needed to produce a product that the company sells as well as outbound logistics to handle operations that move finished goods from the manufacturing location to the end user. The large number of raw materials, including the Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API), as well as a variety of packaging requirements, requires multiple suppliers. Pharmaceutical companies sell the products through alternative channel partners that are middlemen between the company and end customer.
Planning for the shipment of pharma products can create several challenges due to the nature of the products. Not only does the number of trucks need to be calculated, but also the type of trucks that are required. Some products must be shipped via cold chain otherwise their efficacy will be compromised.
Why do Pharmaceutical Companies Need a TMS?
Pharmaceutical companies need to be able to manage both their inbound and outbound logistics operations efficiently. Every pharma company wants to make sure their products are delivered correctly with the appropriate quality checks in place, which can only happen with full supply chain visibility. Without it, a company cannot manage its transportation operations optimally.
Within the manufacturing portion of the business, there are various teams such as the plant, logistics, accounts and sales teams that all need full visibility in order to perform their duties correctly. A TMS provides visibility not only real-time visibility to the manufacturing end but also to those in the distribution channel. A TMS aids in managing raw materials and packaging supplies as well as the shipment of finished goods to warehouses and eventually to the end customer.
Advantages of a TMS for Pharmaceutical Companies
Pharmaceutical companies will benefit from a TMS in the following ways:
Load Planning/Optimization: Optimization of the load digitally will produce better results than manual planning. If a company requires 50 trucks per month based on their cargo load, an optimizer can reduce the number to 40-45 trucks a month, which results in savings. Load planning consolidates the load to use the least number of trucks possible as well as finding the best route possible.
Route Planning: Route planning is an essential step that can help save money and deliver products on time by finding the most efficient route possible. Because pharma companies have a wide distribution network, route planning can help in several areas of the delivery process.
Load Builder: The load builder feature tells how to load products into a truck to maximize the delivery process. If the cargo that will be delivered first is at the back of the truck, the entire truck has to be unloaded to get to that part of the shipment. Because pharmaceutical goods are sensitive, the risk of damaging other items is even higher. A 3-D load builder loads cargo that ensures efficiency with no errors.
E-POD: Electronic Proof of Delivery simplifies the process as it ensures there is no loss of LR during transit. An LR that has been electronically generated makes it easier to comply with all regulations and simplifies dispute resolutions. The ability to upload the E-POD along with damages improves the efficiency of the process.
Dashboard: The dashboard provides one place that summarizes the business operations, which can be used for report generation for delivery performance. The TMS dashboard provides transparency among all the steps of the process, invoicing, and payments.
Monitor Shipment Temperature: A TMS automatically tracks cold-chain storage and transfer needs depending on the product. It ensures on-time delivery of sensitive products that cannot be late.
Global Regulations: Pharmaceutical products that are shipped internationally must adhere to the standards of the FDA, European Union, World Health Organization and others. A TMS makes it easier to manage all of the current requirements for pharmaceutical goods.
Documentation is Important: Inspections are part and parcel of pharmaceutical shipping. Whenever a shipping pharma container is received, extensive inspection is performed for any signs of contamination. After inspection, consistent documentation and record-keeping is required to highlight broken pallets, torn stretch wraps, or even pest infestations
Verizeal’s TMS for Pharmaceutical Companies
The procurement and shipping process for pharmaceutical companies can often be very complex. A TMS helps businesses manage and connect all of their internal and external shipping processes. This software helps to automate key functions. Verizeal’s platform is the logistics solution to ensure on-time delivery and regulatory compliance. Verizeal’s compliance solution automates trade and compliance programs and streamlines product management communications between the business, suppliers, and service providers. To protect the integrity of the products, Verizeal provides adequate traceability and transparency and automates trade and compliance programs.