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Get the Facts: The Current State of Cold Chain Visibility in 2021

1/12/2021

cold chain visibilityBy Karen Whipple

Supply chain visibility and cold chain logistics are understandably hot topics these days, due to the coronavirus pandemic. A total of seven vaccines are now available for public use, in limited quantities, in dozens of countries. Although the U.S. government’s goal was to vaccinate 20 million people by the end of 2020, only 9.27 million doses have been administered as of January 11, according to a state-by-state tally by Bloomberg and data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Because of the many challenges involved in distributing the vaccine, pharma companies, governments and 3PLs are tasked with finding better ways to efficiently and safely roll out the vaccines to doctor’s offices, hospitals and pharmacies worldwide. This has led to increased interest in cold chains and how organizations can identify visibility gaps within their cold chain transportation networks. Critical questions include: 

  • Where are the most vulnerable parts of my organization’s cold chain?
  • Do I have 100% visibility into the condition of my products during the last mile of delivery?
  • At which point in my supply chain will product spoilage most likely occur?
  • Can I 100% trust the data coming in from tracking products within my supply chain?

Cloudleaf published the answers to these questions in their recently released State of Supply Chain Visibility report, which was a collaboration between Cloudleaf and Sapio Research, who surveyed over 200 U.S. supply chain decision-makers across the pharmaceutical and food and beverage industries to gain a better understanding of their biggest supply chain challenges. 

Pharmaceutical companies must rely on a complicated network of suppliers, logistics providers and manufacturers to get their products to the end consumer. They also have to adhere to strict regulations and requirements such as batch-level traceability and a tightly-controlled cold chain logistics infrastructure. These requirements are among the top challenges for the industry, which also included:

  • Product damage or spoilage (34%)
  • Lost or misplaced inventory (28%)
  • Temperature excursions (25%)
  • Compliance issues (21%)
  • Not knowing the temperature while products are in transit (20%)

The insights in this report reveal the staggering consequences that organizations face if they lack end-to-end visibility in their supply chains. A full 87% of pharma company respondents revealed that they don’t have 100% visibility into the condition of products in their supply chain. The report also revealed that 92% of companies state that they can’t trust the data they have on products traveling through their supply chains. Cloudleaf CEO Mahesh Veerina notes, “The COVID-19 pandemic has made abundantly clear how crucial end-to-end supply chain visibility truly is. The findings of this report illustrate a crippling reality for high-value supply chains and cold chains today.” In an interview with CNBC’s Squawk Alley, Veerina notes that there’s a rapid push for pharmaceutical companies to deploy digital technologies such as IoT sensors, AI and machine learning to predict and identify, in real time, where supply chain problems are likely to occur, from the storage facility all the way to final delivery. 

Given the urgent medical priorities and new vaccines coming to market quickly, it’s vital that pharmaceutical companies address the blind spots in their supply chains to mitigate losses from missed handoffs, theft, product spoilage, distribution and compliance issues.

We’re here to help! Download the State of Supply Chain Visibility report and the Digital Cold Chain Reimagined whitepaper to understand how you can get a fuller view of your supply chain for smoother delivery of life-saving products.