Practice-related research project "Pharma Supply Chain Risk Management in Air Freight"

The Digitalization of Pharma-Logistics - a research project of the Frankfurt UAS - ensures more transparency and safety in the pharma supply chain

1. Starting situation

The German pharmaceutical industry is one of the most important business segments in Germany with total sales of €39.5 billion in 2016. Its products make an important contribution to increasing the quality of life and the life expectancy of people.

Pharmaceutical products are produced and sold globally and the globalization of the pharma supply chain leads to an increase of goods that are transported per air freight. The increasing globalization of production and sales, the regulation of the market, the trend towards outsourcing, and the volatile environment create enormous and complex challenges for all parties involved in the pharma supply chain.

In the past few years, the legal situation has continually intensified and has assigned responsibility for the quality of products, from production to the end consumer, to the pharmaceutical producer. The "Guidelines on Good Distribution Practice of Medicinal Products for Human Use" of the European Commission (EU GDP Guidelines) have required a quality risk management from pharmaceutical companies since 2013, which bases an assessment of the risks on scientific insights and experiences with corresponding processes. Furthermore, planning of the transport is to be risk-based.

As a consequence, the pharmaceutical producers and logistic service providers have an increasing desire for security, transparency, and visibility along the supply chain and are demanding intelligent IT systems in order to be able to visualize the risks of the transport chain.

2. Research objective

The research project PSCRM of the Frankfurt UAS supports the joint partners in meeting these requirements for scientific quality management. For the first time, pharmaceuticals producers will sit at the same table with representatives of the businesses involved in the logistics chain and will collaborate under the direction of Dr. Yvonne Ziegler, Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences, in order to find a joint solution for a quality risk management whose supply chain risk analysis is based on scientific insights and experiences with corresponding processes. 

The goal of the project is to develop an innovative, web-based service, which helps the businesses along the pharma supply chain both with the design of their network (strategic level) and with monitoring individual shipments (tactical level).

The supply chain with its complex network of business-internal and -external interfaces between manufacturers, suppliers, and customers is identified and digitalized together with the project partners as part of an integrated supply chain risk management in order to minimize risks. The project team is performing pioneering work. Similar risk models have only been seen in the financial sector thus far. The creation of the digital solution makes the path of temperature-controlled pharmaceuticals from production to the customer transparent and thus allows for long-term planning while taking the aspects of security, growth, and sales increases into account.

The prototype of the IT tool developed over the course of the project is to be transferred to an IT service in an independent new company at the Hesse location.

Project team

Syndicate leader

Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences

Cooperation partners

Cyntegrity Germany GmbH, University RheinMain, University Fulda, Bayer AG, Boehringer Ingelheim Pharma GmbH & Co. KG, and GEFCO Forwarding Germany GmbH

Associate partners

IATA - International Air Transport Association, BPI Bundesverband der Pharmazeutischen Industrie e.V., Regierungspresidium Darmstadt, Air Cargo Community Frankfurt e.V., Sanofi-Aventis Germany GmbH, Merck KgaA, Merz Pharma GmbH & Co KGaA, Roche Diagnostics GmbH, r-biopharm AG, ELPRO-BUCHS AG, Flughafen Düsseldorf Cargo GmbH, Lufthansa Cargo AG, Airbridge Cargo Airlines, Schenker Germany AG, Frigo-Trans GmbH, Bolloré Logistics, Transco Berlin-Brandenburg GmbH, and TSafe GmbH

Duration

September 1, 2017 – December 31, 2019

Financing

The total expenditures are listed at about one million Euros, half of which is covered by the project partners. The State of Hesse supports this practice-related project (HA Project No.: 555/17-37) as part of Hesse model projects from the funds of LOEWE – State Offensive for the Development of Scientific-Economic Excellence, Support line 3: KMU joint venture with €500,000 Euros.

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