Today drug product delivery by drone technology in pharma supply chain is changing the pharma industry. It is no more a fringe technology. It is here to stay. Over the last few years, drones have been the topic of the experiment for use in expanding the potential of supply chain professionals. To deliver life-saving vaccines and temperature-sensitive drug therapies. Drones are changing the pharmaceutical supply chain transportation model at a swift tempo. Hence, enabling the safe delivery of life-saving vaccines and medical supplies to areas. Which are being affected by a natural disaster or an epidemic outbreak in record time. Where weak infrastructure and instability can limit patient access. Drones are swiftly increasing as a crucial tool for logistics companies. In regions where conventional methods of transport cannot reach.
In this article, we explore three ways in which drones in pharma supply chains are supporting the industry.
Supply in hard-to-reach areas
Drones can decrease the gaps in the supply chain in areas that lack the infrastructure for conventional transport logistics. Let’s consider sub-Saharan Africa for example. The drone companies are setting up large-scale delivery links to build entirely new transport frameworks. Hence allowing the on-demand delivery of medicines, vaccines, and lab supplies. Since drones are unmanned, they do not require drivers. Nor do they need the construction of additional roads.
To encourage this, drone companies are partnering with local businesses and government departments. Therefore, the vehicles themselves can be manufactured locally. For example, Continental Drones has partnered with German drone manufacturer Wingcopter in all 49 sub-Saharan countries. Over the upcoming five years, the partners will deploy 12,000 Wingcopter 198s throughout Africa. Thus, making this the largest commercial deployment in the global delivery drone industry to date.
Sustainable supply chains
The drone technology in pharma supply chain is paving the road for success in the industry. These battery-operated, drones are more environmentally friendly as compared to other vehicles. With the caveat that heavier loads will need larger, more energy-intensive drones that require more frequent charging. Nonetheless, for local deliveries with short lead times, drones are producing fewer emissions than road transport while being more efficient. Also, they are beneficial in areas that have heavy road traffic. Partnerships such as the deal between Wingcopter and Continental also have the capability to enhance local economies. As well as creating new job opportunities to build and operate the vehicles. All while with a minimal carbon footprint.
On-demand, fast delivery
As supply issues have been increasing, the demand for the fast delivery of medicines is also rising. In areas that are time-consuming to reach, such as overpopulated cities with dense traffic, drones offer a quick solution.
in the last two years, the southern Indian state of Telangana has been affected by extreme weather events. Including flooding and extreme heat waves. These incidents disrupted existing supply chains and made it difficult to deliver Covid-19 vaccines. As they were most needed to control the peak of the pandemic. To handle this, Indian drone company Skye Air delivered vaccines in temperature-controlled boxes within a 12 km range. And taking an average of 18 minutes to arrive at their destination.
Another example is Austria, where the Red Cross is working with aerospace company Thales to deliver life-saving blood samples to hospitals if required within minutes.
The drone technology in pharma supply chains needs to be proactive rather than reactive. Predictive analytics leverage current and historical performance data. In order to make predictions on future performance. Therefore, creating intelligent supply chains capable of swift adaptation and agile decision-making processes. Drone technology in pharma supply chain is revolutionizing the delivery of essential drugs to remote areas. As well as to the rural communities. They are probably the best way to ship a product. Considering the shortest transit time where road transportation is limited or congested or during a disease outbreak. Since pharma companies are concentrating on innovative drug delivery and growing their geographic reach. Therefore, partnering with drone service providers can help in achieving these goals.
Contact us at Aeologic Technologies to know more about incorporating drone technology into your business.
How drones are impacting the supply chain?
The advent and rising use of drones for last-mile deliveries will influence a company’s supply chain. From demand and supply planning to warehousing and shipment. This new approach to fulfillment will demand an adaptive and flexible supply chain management solution.
What are the benefits of drone technology in pharma supply chain?
Drones are cheaper to buy and operate as compared to other conventional methods of transportation for last-mile delivery. Since they are battery-powered, there is no expense for fuel. Also, there are reduced labor costs as the actual drone delivery operation is fully autonomous.