The eyes of the world have been firmly placed on the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, and its German partner BioNTech, since it announced a vaccine for Covid-19 on the 9th November 2020.

With a sense of relief, cautious celebrations filtered across the globe and excitement rose when Pfizer and BioNTech revealed a worldwide roll-out plan of 50 million vaccines before the end of 2020 and a further one billion vaccines in 2021. It is no surprise that attention, therefore, has swiftly moved to the organisation’s supply chain management and how it is handling and optimising the many components of its ambitious plan to ensure delivery on time.

Scaling up the supply chain

Due to the strict temperature control required to store the vaccine, the central role of Pfizer’s supply chain will be to ensure effective storage, handling, stock management, rigorous temperature control in the cold chain and maintenance of adequate logistics management information systems. Pfizer’s management of such a complex supply chain to support the delivery of 50 million vaccines around the world in less than 60 days will have presented the organisation with many challenges. 

The Wall Street Journal reported that Pfizer’s original target was to deliver 100 million vaccines within 2020 however this was reduced to 50 million by the time of the official announcement. It is suspected that scaling up the raw material supply chain took longer than expected, highlighting just one of the many challenges Pfizer will have faced when quickly scaling up its supply chain to meet the overwhelming global demand. 

Supply chain challenges

Pfizer is not alone when it comes to tackling the complex challenges of supply chain management, especially when scaling up. Operations leaders frequently face the following challenges:

  • Gaining unified and accurate real-time insight on operations to identify excess costs, allocate resources, manage inventory, forecast orders and production needs
  • Increasing sales orders accuracy to reduce the risk of delays and errors, reducing the risk of cost overruns and lost profits 
  • Enhancing inventory management to see exactly what inventory is present and where it is, helping to avoid excess ordering or shrinkage 
  • Identifying quality or production issues early to reduce risks of waste and delays 
  • Reducing production delays to minimise the risk of damaging a customer relationship and losing revenue.

Making the transition from reactive to proactive planning

Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management is Microsoft’s enterprise-scale supply chain solution that helps operations leaders overcome the above challenges and scale their supply chains. It provides them with a modern adaptive and intelligent solution that supports their unique requirements. Crucially, it also enables them to rapidly adjust to continually changing business environments. 

Download our guide and discover how Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management can help your organisation build resilience into an agile connected supply chain at an enterprise scale.