Big role ahead for SaaS-based delivery systems

Written by S Saroj Kumar | Updated: Jan 29 2011, 06:20am hrs
In the present era of multi-locational manufacturing the world order, the challenge for global manufacturing companies is to track the flow of products and information among various supply chain participants in the overall delivery system. IT supply chain management (SCM) vendors ensure automated tracking management of flow of materials among suppliers, manufacturers, distributers and end-customers particularly in industries like pharma and life science. Delivering IT SCM solutions from Chennai, S Sridharan, managing director of IT SCM company, Take Solutions, tells S Saroj Kumar of FE about lowering cost of IT solutions by espousing software-as-a-service (Saas) in IT SCM domain of oil and gas and pharma industries.

What is IT SCM is all about

IT SCM in pharma is about enforcing IT-enabled Good Manufactured Practices (GMP) like complying with various regulatory standards including input pricing and quality standards in the drug manufacturing process. IT takes care of SCM process in the entire supplier-manufacturer ecosystem in the product manufacturing life cycle of pharma goods. It takes 12 years to discover a drug and IT helps in managing various clinical trials and pharmacovigilance standards. The IT process is same in oil and gas industry except for regulatory provisions in the crude oil excavation to its various hydrocarbon byproducts.

You operate on software-as-a-service (Saas) model. How is the Saas adoption among pharma companies globally

Let me tell you what Saas could do in the SCM process of the pharma industry. While drug discovery may happen in the US, largescale manufacturing of discovered formulation may take place in China. There needs to be a flow of information among suppliers and manufacturies located across geographies. Saas reduces the IT adoption cost for SCM participants and makes it affordable to all the SCM players further bringing down the overall cost of IT.

What could drive Saas in IT adoption of pharma

In the globalised village of pharma, supplier collaboration is happening across continents with close to 1,000 suppliers collaborating in the drug manufacturing. The full chain drug distribution is such a long line where manufacturing, research, quality control, testing, among others, is happening across the delivery chain. The global disruption like shifting of drug trial process to countries like China, India and those in South America from the US and Europe is increasingly making it complex for SCM management. Saas-based pharma IT is the only indispensable tool that can manage SCM in the globalised manufacturing of pharma.

What is the scenario in oil and gas exploration

On the issue of Saas and data portability and making sensitive data available to various supply chain partners, apprehensions are common among pharma, oil and gas. Even in oil and gas industry, it is no more a shuttle game among US, Europe and West Asia. We do see shift of sands among countries like Nigeria, India and the ones in West Asia especially driven by R&D initiatives in the industry. Supplier collaboration is happening at the global scale and Saas-based IT could alone provide the business agility in such globalised environment. Oil and gas companies will look at Saas in a big way when they feel the weight of capex and opex in IT SCM of their business.