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Three Ways Drug Wholesale Company AmerisourceBergen Overcame Disruption Through Innovation

Joe Miles, General Manager of Health Sciences at SAP, recently had the opportunity to sit down with long-time supply chain enthusiast Jeff Denton of AmerisourceBergen Corporation for an exclusive 1:1 interview on the SAPPHIRENOW Converge Industries Channel.  During this brief but insightful video, we learned how AmerisourceBergen digitized its supply chain to support global serialization regulations and simultaneously accelerated its journey to become an intelligent enterprise.  The work of Jeff’s team has been instrumental to fuel the innovation maturity of healthcare distributors industry-wide, supporting the health and wellness of millions of people around the world.

AmerisourceBergen Corporation is a leading wholesale distributor in the life sciences industry and a major player in the U.S. drug supply chain.  With over 150 locations across 50 countries, AmerisourceBergen delivers lifesaving drugs and supplies to thousands of care sites to support human and animal health.

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Learn how AmerisourceBergen Digitized the Life Sciences Supply Chain

In 2013, the Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA) expanded regulations around the tracking and tracing of serialized pharmaceuticals in the United States supply chain, inspiring a wave of disruption and uncertainty across the industry.  This spark ignited an immense passion for innovation within AmerisourceBergen, exposing three guiding principles for organizations that aspire to reinvent themselves amidst disruption of any kind – new regulations, a global pandemic, etc.

Three Ways AmerisourceBergen Overcame Disruption Through Innovation:

  1. Starting with Why

AmerisourceBergen began their innovation journey when faced with the global serialization regulation in November 2013.  This disruption sparked transformation within AmerisourceBergen above and beyond the initial reaction of compliance and extended into an end-to-end integration of the mandate into business processes.  AmerisourceBergen’s journey will continue through 2023 and beyond, as they started with lot traceability and plan to move to shipping unit serialization and other industry-leading supply chain practices.

Through AmerisourceBergen’s digitalization initiatives, Jeff Denton and the team were able to turn a seemingly painful regulatory compliance act into a “state-of-the-art solution that has succeeded beyond expectations from day one and simply left competitors in the dust”.  AmerisourceBergen may have started with why (reacting to the new regulations) but were able to successfully turn the disruption into a competitive advantage that will enable the company to better support patient outcomes for years to come.

  1. Becoming Data-Centric

Upon analysis of the new regulations, AmerisourceBergen quickly realized there were no viable track-and-trace tools on the market and turned to its partnership with SAP to co-innovate.  With technology positioned as an enabler, AmerisourceBergen was able to avoid disparate systems by deploying one core system to “enable end-to-end visibility of serial number transition within the supply chain – from when products are shipped from the manufacturer to when it is provided to a pharmacy downstream”.   This allows AmerisourceBergen to manage serialization down to the bottle level for two million lines of transactions and 4,000 purchases a day, in a single global system that uses blockchain technology to manage metrics and issue error messages.  This data has proven to be incredibly powerful for AmerisourceBergen and opens up incredible opportunities around predictive analytics for replenishment and other supply chain tracking abilities in the future.

  1. Adopting the Approach “We’re All in This Together”

Perhaps one of the most admirable things AmerisourceBergen did at the start of its transformation journey was to adopt the approach of “we’re all in this together”.  When new track-and-trace regulations exposed serious gaps in the life sciences and technology industries  AmerisourceBergen could have doubled down internally to hire and develop the resources to build a unique solution to the problem.  Instead, AmerisourceBergen turned to SAP to co-innovate and produce the first enterprise solution to meet all track-and-trace requirements of the DSCSA.  Over time, this partnership has expanded outside of the two parties to include other industry players in an ongoing consortium to support the greater good of the healthcare supply chain.

AmerisourceBergen began this journey in 2013 to comply with a new regulation. Jump forward to today and they now have a new solution that has not only prepared them for the regulation but inspired AmerisourceBergen to explore the many opportunities they can achieve through the massive amount of data they are collecting to better serve the health and wellness of millions of people from around the world.

Learn how AmerisourceBergen is partnering with SAP to transform the health sciences supply chain in our 1:1 interview with Jeff Denton, Vice President of Global Secure Supply Chain.

Visit the SAPPHIRENOW Converge Industries Channel to discover the industry-specific resources your organization needs to turn insight into action to run as an intelligent enterprise in uncertain times and beyond.

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