Enhancing Visibility and Transparency: The Role of Supply Chain Portals in Life Sciences
Life Science

Enhancing Visibility and Transparency: The Role of Supply Chain Portals in Life Sciences

By Priyobroto May 10, 2024 - 20 views

How do supply chain portals boost the life sciences sector? Before we get into the benefits of organized supply chain systems for this sector, it is important to note what these portals actually equate to. Let’s call them interactive web platforms that enable online transactions between suppliers, customers, and enterprises.

Now imagine that it functions like a platform where suppliers and buyers can link up with each other and participate in information exchange. Especially for entities with multiple suppliers, it will naturally speed up overall production and purchasing, something that is invaluable in the competitive global life sciences industry. At the same time, it will also help in tracking supplier orders, with the same data being visible to all stakeholders in a bid to prevent errors. So what do supply chain portals essentially help with? If you’re a life sciences enterprise, then they give you full visibility and insights into your supply chain.

How You Can Make It Work

You can opt to create a one-off portal where you suppliers can register and then start providing data that is vital for your production and operational processes. This will also help enhance ultimate client relationships, with easy tracking of the products delivered, how many are to be delivered, their timelines, and so on. Multi-customer and multi-supplier data can be tracked by you via this portal, thereby lowering manual work, errors, and of course, enabling a more organized framework overall.

The bigger benefits lie in how much you actually streamline the collaboration procedure between your suppliers and your entity, while also keeping buyers/clients in the loop. Document handling and organization is greatly minimized as a result of these processes, while there is higher transparency across supplier-buyer transactions too. Supply chain portals can usually be organized on the SaaS (software as a service) model and hence additional infrastructure and hardware may not be required.

How a Supply Portal Helps Your Life Sciences Company

Now, how do you actually benefit from setting up a supply chain portal? Here are some of the most visible and tangible benefits in store for your enterprise.

  • Automatic dispatches of purchase orders to suppliers once they arise
  • Easy access to order receipts for suppliers
  • Online confirmation of purchase orders by suppliers in the portal itself
  • Easy additions of associated data and delivery timelines
  • Automatic updating of delivery data in buyer ERP
  • Automatic updates of purchase order changes

Now here are the underlying and way bigger benefits that you need to know more about.

  • Greater supply chain visibility- If you can strategically leverage supply chain portals, then they’ll ensure 360-degree visibility of your entire supply chain like never before. This will enable end-to-end track and trace models for supply chains.
  • Improved procurement and sourcing- Portals will deploy technology to give you insights on real-time spending and purchase orders, budget-based accountabilities, and the alignment between production and purchases. This will help you strategically handle both sourcing and procurement with a view towards lowering wastage and optimizing costs.
  • Cold chain handling- Multiple aspects like lower shelf lives and temperature-sensitivity of some drugs have led to enterprises looking closely at cold chain adoption. This will be facilitated by portals, thereby enhancing last-mile connectivity to online retailers and gaining insights on consolidated distribution.
  • Higher sustainability- With ESG (environment, social, and governance) set to become a key buzzword for the life sciences and pharmaceutical sectors, there is a need to use technology and supply chain portals to enable better tracking of carbon footprint, responsible procurement of raw materials, better decommissioning of medical devices, enhanced packaging, and lowering scrap levels.
  • Personalized medicine needs- Life sciences enterprises have invested close to US$13 billion in cell and gene tech from the year 2018 onwards as per reports. At the same time, 900+ global enterprises in the segment are already creating more advanced therapeutics, with another 1,000 such clinical trials already on course. This evolving environment needs smarter supply chains with temperature-sensitive ecosystems, closed loops, chains of custody, and chains of identity. Specialized partners have to take care of sensitive and patient-based aspects of personalized medications, including delivery of innovative medicines to customers and also gathering genes/cells from healthy donors, for instance. This is where supply chain portals can go a long way towards enabling better insights and tracking on each of these parameters.

Closing Points

So, as can be seen, life sciences companies stand to gain immensely from setting up their portals for supply chains. It will also help them with the following aspects:

  • Portals can help combat volatility in demand, with real-time visibility on inventory, production, and deadlines. AI-backed platforms/portals can easily sense shifts in demand, while notifying teams with regard to lowering risk exposure. Customer needs can be forecasted accurately with full optimization of safety stocks and buffers, while also preparing to meet predicted demand spikes.
  • There will be more balanced inventory operations with full visibility from the production unit to the clinic/final customer. Intelligence and insights on warehouse stocks, shipments, and movement timelines, will boost managers’ abilities to redirect and track products whenever needed, filling up vital gaps accordingly throughout the supply chain.
  • Environmental aspects like humidity and temperature can also be tracked by sensors and mobile devices, thereby adding another layer of data and understanding to the whole monitoring system.
  • Supply chain portals will also help life sciences players adhere to evolving compliance requirements and health authority regulations, while having the ability to quickly withdraw products or take action to tackle global concerns related to product safety. Screening of restricted parties, submission management, and tracking regulatory changes can all be centralized with proper governance throughout the board.

So, from compliance and tracking to centralizing operations, better visibility, and higher customer satisfaction, supply chain portals have diverse roles to play as far as life sciences enterprises are concerned. These portals can importantly build those collaborative and reliable relationships across all parties, which will considerably lower costs and enhance efficiencies in the near future. This makes it a win-win for life sciences players investing in supply chain infrastructure including portals.


1. How do portals help mitigate supply chain risks?

Portals can enable better risk mitigation with AI-backed forecasting, sensing demand shifts, optimizing inventory and production, and swift communication of changes across all stakeholders.

2. What specific functionalities do supply chain portals offer to improve visibility into the movement of pharmaceuticals, biologics, and medical devices?

Supply chain portals come with real-time visibility and tracking of product shipments and warehouse inventory. They also help gain insights into purchase order statuses, delivery dates, and more.

3. What trends are shaping the evolution of supply chain portals in the life sciences industry, and how are companies adapting to these trends?

There are some trends which are influencing supply chain portal evolution in the life sciences sector. These include a shift towards cold chain adoption and personalized medicine. Companies are adapting to the same by ramping up their supply chain portals with a view towards enhancing visibility, compliance, and logistics in these categories.

4. How do portals help mitigate supply chain risks?

Portals can help mitigate various supply chain risks, including delays, non-compliance, and non-communication between stakeholders. They help enterprises get full visibility of products from factories to clinics, while providing insights on deliveries, statuses, and more. They can also use AI and other technologies to optimize inventory and production as per customer demand.

5. What are the potential benefits of using portals in life sciences?

There are several future advantages of using portals in the life sciences sector, including better compliance and more organized and reliable relationships between clients, enterprises, and suppliers. Other benefits include improved efficiencies in terms of cold chain logistics for temperature-sensitive products, better personalized medication delivery, and of course, overall time and cost savings that enable higher profitability.

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