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TraceLink’s FutureLink 2019: Unlocking the Value of a Digital Supply Chain

Lindsey Eckerd
Alessandro de Luca of Merck

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  • In his opening keynote, Alessandro de Luca of Merck claimed that the reality we are facing is not just digital transformation, it is a digital storm that we must prepare for.  He referenced a quote by Ernest Hemingway that change comes “gradually, then suddenly”. In his opinion, the supply chain must be flexible and agile in response to the rapid changes taking place across the healthcare industry. From virtual practitioners, digital therapeutics and personalized medicines, the supply chain is facing new pressures that may need to be handled digitally.
  • As an industry, we’re aware that there will never be a silver bullet system to solve all supply chain issues. More than likely, we will need to integrate a platform of systems which complement one another and can add different degrees of value to operations. Until the people component of digital transformation is addressed and we actively work with employees, companies will fail to move successfully towards digital supply.
  • Roddy Martin of Tracelink encouraged the audience to look beyond the 10x improvement and find the areas of 100x improvement. Thinking commercially about what can make an impact on business operations as a whole can also help you achieve buy-in—as can committing to a pilot project and getting an early win.
  • During FutureLink, there was a glimpse of the possibility that digital supply could bring, from benchmarking against a digital twin, collaborating across your full network of partners and creating bespoke, easy to integrate applications for difficult processes.
    As Shabbir Dahod, CEO of TraceLink, put it “95 per cent of your supply chain is beyond your visibility”. While there is potential to open up new visibility and insights across the entire supply chain, it is clear that to achieve this will require us all to think a little differently.
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