Unlocking Supply Chain Success:  Overcoming Visibility Challenges

Discover the top 5 supply chain visibility challenges, and how the Hub can help overcome those challenges


Traditional pharma manufacturing supply chains are evolving to balance costs, efficiency, and resilience. End-to-end supply chain visibility, crucial to modern business operations, enables companies to optimise their supply chain workflows and reduce costs. However, achieving these objectives across global operations is not an easy task, with shipping delays, raw material shortages, and congested ports impacting drug manufacturing companies for the past couple of years. 

To tackle the growing supply chain disruptions, let’s take a look at five key supply chain visibility challenges that pharma companies face, and some solutions to overcome those challenges to regain control of the supply chain oversight.

1. Data Management in Complex Supply Chains:

One of the biggest challenges that pharmaceutical companies face in achieving supply chain visibility is the complexity of their supply chains. Most organisations today have global supply chains that involve multiple suppliers, partners, and intermediaries. Each of these entities operates differently and uses different IT systems, making it difficult to track products as they move through the supply chain, and the vast amount of data generated by their suppliers’ systems and devices, such as RFID tags, GPS sensors, and other IoT devices. 

Managing this data and ensuring that it is accurate and up-to-date is a significant challenge, and to help pharma companies regain control of their data, we built the Hub, by Veratrak, a digital, unified platform for managing your supply chain partners.
With a single dashboard, the Hub links systems across pharmaceutical, logistics and contract manufacturing organisations to facilitate collaboration, improve visibility and generate efficiencies across supply chain operations.
The types of data integrated within the Hub platform allows real time monitoring and flexibility: through notifications of integrated message flow events, Hub customers gain elevated visibility beyond their four walls.

2. Lack of Standardisation:

The lack of standardisation is another significant challenge that companies face, as there are no universally accepted standards for supply chain data, and different suppliers use different formats and terminologies to describe similar processes. This lack of standardisation makes it difficult to share and analyse data, and collaborate effectively.

Users connected to the Hub benefit from harmonised data across all their outsourced suppliers, enabling insightful performance analysis and reporting:

- Transform any inbound information to a standard: Veratrak’s standard will accept and appropriately map a wide range of fields across all companies and markets.

- Transform outbound information to the format and protocol for your partner. 

The Hub’s analytics functionality delivers key metrics that drive performance within the business, and allows customers to enforce harmonious standards across their outsourced provider portfolio.

3. Technology Limitations and Limited Access to Data:

In some cases, pharma companies may not have access to all the data they need to achieve complete supply chain visibility. This can be due to contractual agreements with suppliers or partners, or because the data is generated by systems that are not under the company's control. In such cases, companies may need to rely on third-party providers for the missing data.

Legacy systems that are not designed for data sharing and integration can make it difficult to track products as they move through the supply chain. In addition, implementing new technologies requires integrating new systems across each of your suppliers across your value chain, which takes time and requires a strong budget.

Veratrak’s integrated digital Hub removes the need for peer-to-peer connections between life sciences organisations and their partners by offering a scalable, single source of truth for logistics and warehousing services to unlock cost savings, supply chain flexibility, and unparalleled visibility. 

By supporting any file format from CSV, to XML, EDI or JSON, and any communication protocol from FTPS, to AS2, or API the Hub's agnostic approach supports existing technical stacks and provides the ability to onboard new partners seamlessly. Once integrated with the Hub, customers no longer require costly maintenance expertise and expensive testing to support integrations over time, reducing time to onboard new supply chain partners and eliminating peer-to-peer integration maintenance.

4. Security Concerns:

Supply chain visibility also raises security concerns. Sharing sensitive data with partners and third party suppliers can increase the risk of cyber-attacks and data breaches, and pharma companies need to ensure that they have proper security measures in place to protect their data across the whole drug development and manufacturing process.

The Hub, by Veratrak is a cloud-based platform that enables life sciences companies to manage data collaboration and supply chain processes securely. It uses encryption technology (blockchain) to ensure data integrity and traceability, features digital signature functionality for efficient document signing, and is designed with industry regulations compliance in mind (GxP Data Integrity, FDA 21 CFR Part 11 and EU GMP).

5. Scope 3 Emissions Tracking and Sustainability Reporting:

Scope 3 emissions refer to the indirect emissions that occur in a company's value chain, including emissions from purchased goods and services, transportation, and waste disposal. Tracking and reporting Scope 3 emissions is critical for companies to fully understand their carbon footprint and develop effective sustainability strategies, in line with the latest Climate Change regulations {see white paper}. However, there are several challenges that companies face when tracking and reporting Scope 3 emissions.

  • Data Collection: The first challenge in tracking Scope 3 emissions is collecting accurate data from suppliers and partners. Companies may not have direct control over the emissions generated by their value chain, and collecting data can be difficult, time-consuming, and costly. They need to work closely with their suppliers and partners to gather data on their carbon emissions, which can require significant resources and coordination.

  • Complexity: Scope 3 emissions can be complex and difficult to measure accurately. For example, emissions from transportation can be affected by factors such as distance, mode of transportation, and fuel type, and so companies need to have the necessary expertise and resources to accurately calculate their Scope 3 emissions.

  • Verification: Verifying the accuracy of Scope 3 emissions data can be a challenge, and engaging third-party auditors to verify carbon emissions data can be costly and time-consuming. 

Tracking and reporting Scope 3 emissions is critical for companies to fully understand their carbon footprint and develop effective decarbonisation strategies. With the Hub, you can track, improve, and report on Scope 3 emissions calculations across your supply chain operations (based on industry best practice, the GLEC framework and compliant with ISO 14083), and also benchmark and analyse your sustainability efforts through a single dashboard. 


Achieving supply chain visibility is critical in today’s post pandemic world, and life sciences companies face numerous challenges in achieving it across their outsourced network. However, overcoming these challenges will help to not only streamline costs and generate efficiencies across your operations, but also promote a more sustainable pharma supply chain.

Greater collaboration and cooperation between pharma and its stakeholders will be key to successfully building resilient and sustainable supply chains for the future.

Contact us to find out how we can help you gain visibility on logistics activities and global shipping workflows in real time, improve order management and warehousing productivity, as well as measure sustainability metrics effectively.