Pharma Logistics 4.0: Logistics Service Providers Are Not Meeting the Expectations of the Pharmaceutical Industry

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New CAMELOT study investigates trends in pharma logistics outsourcing

The latest PHARMA Management Radar study conducted by the consulting specialist CAMELOT Management Consultants highlights clear differences when it comes to the satisfaction of pharmaceutical companies with the services of so-called 4PL and LLP logistics service providers. Around one third of the companies that have outsourced logistics services to 4PL/LLP service providers in the past would not do this again or would reduce the amount of services that they outsource. 40% of the study participants, on the other hand, would like to retain or even increase the scope of outsourced services. The study, which highlights current trends in the outsourcing of pharma logistics, was conducted among executives from 70 percent of the world's top 20 life sciences.

Fourth Party Logistics Providers (4PL) and Lead Logistics Providers (LLP) represent a very comprehensive form of logistics outsourcing, which even goes as far as the central management of the overall logistics processes of companies. These service providers often have cutting-edge, mature IT systems, which are essential for ensuring smooth logistics processes within the context of Logistics 4.0.

"The very different experiences that pharmaceutical companies have had in relation to working with 4PL/LLP logistics service providers mean one thing, above all: pharmaceutical manufacturers need to clearly define their expectations vis-à-vis these service providers, and logistics service providers need to do everything they can to ensure they can continue to meet the changing expectations in future," said Stephen Simco, Principal of Logistics and Distribution North America, commenting on the study results.

Expectations Vis-à-Vis 4PL/LLP: Control and Transparency
Pharmaceutical companies above all expect control and complete transparency along the entire supply chain from 4PL/LLP service providers. Important reasons for this include an increasing number of temperature-sensitive products and the increasing demand from customers for delivery tracking in real time. When choosing a 4PL/LLP service provider, pharmaceutical companies look, in particular, for a QM system that complies to current regulations, expertise in integration and change management as well as good cost transparency.

Outsourcing Risks
The question as to why logistics services should not be outsourced provided a surprising result: Nearly 70% of the study participants view the development of a logistics strategy and the strategic supply chain network design as a core competence that they do not wish to outsource to third parties. This is an indicator of the increasing importance of logistics in the pharmaceutical industry.

Good Knowledge of 4PL/LLP
In contrast to the chemical industry, in which CAMELOT Management Consultants conducted a comparable study a few months ago, the level of knowledge on the outsourcing of logistics tasks to 4PL/LLP in the pharmaceutical industry is comparatively high: 45% of those surveyed (Chemical industry: 8%) stated that they had a good overview of 4PL/LLP services, offers and providers that were available.

The "PHARMA Management Radar" study by the consulting specialist CAMELOT Management Consultants examines global business trends in the life sciences industry on an annual basis. Study participants include executives from 70 percent of the world's top 20 life sciences companies. The study can be downloaded free of charge at

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Catherine Nardone
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