Never before has security occupied such a prominent place in the supply chain as it does today. And although technology in 2021 already provides countless tools to make the chain ever safer and more transparent, we are only at the beginning of an enormous evolution. “Nobody tries to save money on supply chain security any more.”
Smart cameras that keep track of every centimetre in and around warehouses, advanced safe systems per customer, strictly secured steel cages, etc. It is impossible to imagine today's logistics infrastructure without security technology. In sectors such as pharmaceuticals and healthcare, where the value of specific medicines can assume extreme forms, the chain is increasingly locked more tightly.
Specialisation requires security
This trend is not new, but the speed at which innovative tracking and security technologies are finding their way into warehouses in Belgium and the Netherlands is remarkable. It doesn't take long to find the causes: current market developments are driving the need for more security. Specialisation is increasingly becoming the norm in all kinds of different sectors, and the development of more specific products simply has a higher cost price.
The bar is high
“If we look at the pharmaceutical world, there are plenty of examples of extremely specific medicines and treatments that cost lots of money,” says Thomas Morshuis of healthcare logistics expert and WDP client Alloga. “The impact on the logistics infrastructure and processes is enormous. Nobody tries to save money on supply chain security any more. More stringent measures, new systems, extra personnel... The bar and the associated investments are very high.”
Transparency from A to Z
It should come as no surprise that manufacturers want to build more security and transparency into their logistics chain. From the start of the production process until the moment the end-user takes delivery of his or her product, organisations want to be able to monitor the entire journey using advanced tracking systems. Models in which every single package is closely tracked are already a reality today.
Knowledge is power
But it can be even more extreme. The demand to control the entire process is growing, especially in the world of pharmaceuticals and healthcare. Not only to the pharmacist's stockroom, but also to the effective use of a certain medicine by the patient. “In order to map the effectiveness of a medicine, as a manufacturer, you want to know whether the product in question is being used properly,” explains Thomas Morshuis of Alloga. “This leads you, for example, to blister strips that produce a signal when the pill is actually being pushed out. Knowledge is power. That opens the doors to a payment model in which patients pay according to effectiveness, not quantity."
The logistics sector is constantly in motion - literally and figuratively. Technological developments have an enormous impact on the existing supply chain, and in terms of security, a future full of innovation seems assured.