Digital technologies are leading the healthcare logistics challenge

Dockers in Le Havre have been targeted by traffickers to get drug shipments out of the French port – Copyright AFP/File CHARLY TRIBALLEAU

The rapid transformation of the life sciences and healthcare sector is driving many changes. This not only includes treatment and health promotion, it also extends to other areas like logistics. This is top he extent that the changes are prompting industry players to reassess their delivery methods and supply.

Many of these changes have risen from the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced logistics and healthcare organisations to adapt. In addition, supply chains, especially with the distribution of medicines, have become more complex.

Exploring some of the emerging themes, the company DHL has published a white paper titled “Delivering Next-Level Healthcare“. The paper considers six major trends that are reshaping the life sciences and healthcare landscape.

The six themes are:

Patient-centric healthcare

The connection between pharmaceutical manufacturing and end users necessitates closer and more responsive relationships. The way people seek, choose and access treatment is changing.

Advanced therapies

Another major trend is the growth of new therapeutic approaches, including biopharmaceutical products and gene-based medicine. Additionally, biopharmaceutical products are delicate and expensive and need to be handled carefully at every stage in the supply chain.

Digital technologies

The development of clinical trials has seen a shift, where 89 percent of sponsors use technology to enable a decentralized model in at least one of their clinical trials, resulting in higher retention compared to studies requiring clinic attendance.

New industry ecosystems

Demographic and industry trends are also driving change in the consumer healthcare segment. Pressure on public health spending, an ageing population, and increasing consumer focus on health and wellness are all contributing to a 12 percent growth forecast by 2025. Additionally, there are new service models and product subscription models emerging, increasing e-commerce sales volume and new product categories. This drives additional supply chain and logistics requirements.

Sustainable solutions

The growing demand of complex and often more individualized shipment solutions makes sustainability another prominent trend, one that also resonates across other industries.


This concerns ensuring that the logistics provider can meet new challenges and demands to scale and has sufficient resources, especially in digital technology investment, to meet the changes.

Having identified the trends, the research also outlines the impact of these trends on supply chains and provides insights on solutions and best practices for life sciences and healthcare delivery.

In particular, there are eight key aspects for companies to consider in futureproofing their supply chain: cold chain capabilities, white glove services, direct to X delivery models, supply chain digitalization, supply chain orchestration, sustainable supply chain solutions, inventory optimization, and regulatory compliance.


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