While every industry has been affected in some form in recent months, wholesale distribution has been at the center of the global supply chain revolution. Extraordinary measures have been implemented across a variety of industries to handle the unique challenges presented by the pandemic.

Those in supply chain and logistics have made significant adjustments to help ensure that every segment — including healthcare — has continued to move forward as efficiently and effectively as possible.

AmerisourceBergen, a wholesale distributor of pharmaceutical products to nearly 100% of hospitals in the U.S., recently joined Cloud Wars Host and Creator Bob Evans and Magnus Meier, global head and vice president of Wholesale Distribution at SAP, for a LinkedIn Live interview to discuss these fundamental changes.

During the session, Jeff Denton, vice president of Global Secure Supply Chain at AmerisourceBergen, discussed the vital role healthcare distributors play to get life-saving drugs to those who need them most and how the company has managed to ethically balance supplier and customer needs.

New Normal: Customer-Centric, Patient-Focused Business

Wholesale distributors across all sub-segments have managed to keep the supply chain moving forward despite numerous hurdles on a global scale. However, distributors of today can no longer simply focus on moving products through the supply chain. The entire industry has shifted to take on new responsibilities that address the latest regulatory requirements and heightened customer expectations.

To address these growing concerns, wholesale distributors — especially those in the healthcare distribution segment — are now focused on “doing business with a purpose,” as Meier perfectly described it. By operating with a purpose, this helps ensure the supply chain is safe and secure. It also protects the integrity of the products and provides peace of mind to hospitals, pharmacies, and patients.

In the interview, Denton describes how creating healthier futures starts with protecting the health of people and our planet.  As a purpose-driven industry leader with a global footprint, AmerisourceBergen has an obligation to champion global sustainability and corporate responsibility. This includes processing more than $2.5 billion in saleable product returns annually, allowing products that would otherwise have been removed and destroyed to be reintroduced into the supply chain. This is good for AmerisourceBergen along with its customers, patients, and manufacturers across the entire supply chain.

To Thrive, Distributors Require Collaboration and Innovation

To address the new concerns and increased responsibility of the distribution industry, AmerisourceBergen approached SAP to co-innovate and create a cross-industry solution centered around meeting the latest regulatory requirements. The result was a new and innovative solution that allows products to be tracked and traced across the entire supply chain: SAP Advanced Track and Trace for Pharmaceuticals.

The collaboration also allowed AmerisourceBergen and other industry leaders to streamline communication across the entire supply chain, from suppliers through to the pharmacies and hospitals. This supports business continuity through not only an individual enterprise but the entire business network.  With this technology, the AmerisourceBergen team can “seamlessly match digital data to physical data,” which aids in counterfeit prevention and sustainability efforts.

Data and Purpose Will Drive the Industry Forward

AmerisourceBergen is focused on what the future holds, shifting focus beyond simply reacting to regulatory requirements to understanding the use cases for all of the new data obtained through track and trace technology.

Without the consortium brought about by AmerisourceBergen and SAP, these industry-specific outcomes and supply chain alignment may not have been possible. Moving forward, collaboration and innovation will be key aspects of the industry and areas in which distributors can add immense value to the supply chain.

New advancements, technology, and cross-industry collaborations must continue to drive solutions that keep up with the latest regulatory requirements and consumer needs.

If you missed the LinkedIn Live interview, “Wholesale Distribution: Operating with a Purpose Along the Value Chain” watch the replay here.