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Enhancing supply chain visibility in a pharmaceutical supply chain: Solutions based on automatic identification technology

: Papert, Marcel; Rimpler, Patrick; Pflaum, Alexander


International journal of physical distribution & logistics management : IJPD & LM 46 (2016), No.9, pp.859-884
ISSN: 0020-7527
ISSN: 0960-0035
ISSN: 0269-8218
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IIS ()

This work analyzes a pharmaceutical supply chain (PSC) in terms of supply chain visibility (SCV). The current good distribution practice (GDP) guideline demands increased visibility from firms. The purpose of this paper is to propose a solution for SCV enhancements based on automatic identification (Auto-ID) technologies.
The authors qualitatively analyze data from ten case studies of actors in a PSC. A review of Auto-ID technologies supports the derivation of solutions to enhance SCV.
This work shows that the functionalities of Auto-ID technologies offered by current practical monitoring solutions and challenges created by the GDP guideline necessitate further SCV enhancements. To enhance SCV, the authors propose three solutions: securPharm with passive radio frequency identification tags, transport containers with sensor nodes, and an SCV dashboard.
Research limitations/implications
This study is limited to a PSC in Germany and is therefore not intended to be exhaustive. Thus, the results serve as a foundation for further analyses.
Practical implications
This study provides an overview of the functionality of Auto-ID technologies. In juxtaposition with the influence of the GDP guideline, the use of our Auto-ID-based solutions can help to enhance SCV.
This work analyzes a PSC in Germany, with consideration given to the influence of current legislation. Based on a multiple-case-study design, the authors derive three Auto-ID-based solutions for enhancing SCV.