GlaxoSmithKline Needed to Make Sure its Life-saving Drugs Were Safe

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ABOUT GSK

Company Profile: One of the world’s largest pharmaceutical product manufacturers.

Supply Chain Type: Regular, FTL, 3PL Market Vehicles.

3PL/4PL Partners Tracked: 11

Shipments Tracked: 400+ FTLs per month

Visibility Resolution: Shipment Level, Package Level (future)

Parameters Monitored: Location.

GSK's Challenges

Pilferage/theft prevention.

Shipment Security without depending on 11 3PLs.

SLA enforcement – Delivery & Night-driving.

The Roambee Solution

Real-time monitoring of shipments transported via leased, market vehicles, or 3PL fleets.

Real-time alerts and intervention.

The Impact

0% theft or pilferage.

Simplified scalable supply chain management.

Logistics & inventory optimization to help ensure critical medical supplies are always available, despite running a lean supply chain.

GSK on ROAMBEE


“GlaxoSmithKline being India’s largest pharma company by volume uses 11 transport vendors to move more than 10,000 shipments annually across 30 locations. Roambee’s on-demand solution, along with the complete management of the Bee’s forward and reverse logistics, helps us get visibility across all the shipments without relying on our transport vendors.
Roambee’s BeeCentral control tower service does not just warn us about possible security threats or SLA impacts in real-time; it acts as our first line of defence in normalizing disruptions and maintaining optimized inventory at all warehouses to serve our patients better.”

Rajesh Shetty
Head - Distribution & Infrastructure, GlaxoSmithKline

​GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), a market leader in many therapeutic and preventive healthcare products, has been a part of the global healthcare industry for almost a century.

​It’s been recognized as the best of the 20 biggest pharmaceutical companies in the world, ranking #1 on the Access to Medicine Index for five times in a row, which is testament to its stellar efforts toward making pharmaceutical drugs more available, affordable, accessible, and acceptable across 107 low to middle-income countries.

​GSK Pharmaceuticals (India) is also one of the leading pharmaceutical companies in the country today, and it’s been at the forefront of serving India’s healthcare needs for over 90 years now.

GSK's Ask



Pilferage Prevention

Theft Reduction

Shipment Security

What GSK needed was Security

Secure Shipments of its Sensitive Cargo


​GSK is in the business of enriching lives; it dreams of doing that by making life-saving products accessible to people and communities across India’s remotest regions.

​Easier said than done.

​No matter where you’re operating a supply chain in the world, theft and pilferage of cargo are always major concerns, besides the usual supply chain risks of course. When you’re transporting expensive medicines over some of South Asia’s loneliest highways, those risks grow exponentially.

​To deliver on its dream, GSK needed a reliable supply chain that could transport its precious cargo with zero incidents.

​They tried to do that by tracking their vehicles and other procedural precautions.

​While the preventive measures helped, there were still incidents of theft and pilferage among GSK’s transport routes.

Overcoming Threats to Security

GSK's Supply Chain Struggles


​GSK runs a pretty complex supply chain throughout India.

In a nutshell, it can be divided into three transportation legs.

Leg 1
Semi-finished pharmaceutical products from 20+ major manufacturing facilities are brought in to three main centers for final processing and packaging.

Leg 2
Finished products are shipped out to 30 regional warehouses.

Leg 3
Products from regional warehouses are then dispatched for last-mile delivery to local distributors.

Transportation over all three legs of the journey are full truck loads, and they’re handled by leased vehicles and 3PLs for maximum cost-efficiency.

While the first and third legs of the supply chain were reasonably secure, the second leg was far from uneventful.

Pilferage was a constant problem on some routes, especially between 11 PM to 5 AM, when drivers would pull over for the night.

Sealing the containers until final delivery to prevent theft wasn’t a viable option; the cargo needed to be accessible for random checking when shipments pass through government check-posts.

As if pilferage wasn’t bad enough, complete shipments would sometimes be hijacked, which was a serious breach of security for the pharmaceutical company.

Cheap knock-oÎs or adulterated medicines that are prepared using stolen product is a serious concern for pharmaceutical companies.

Spurious drugs that enter a market doesn’t just threaten a company’s reputation, it endangers lives.

GSK tried to fix the security problem through two simple but sizable steps:

  1. Tracking their shipments using GPS vehicle tracking.
  2. Enforcing SLAs like:
    • Avoiding unnecessary stops or route deviations
    • Using safer routes and rest stops
    • Avoiding night driving

Since they rely exclusively on 3PLs, however, the fleet they’re trying to track and manage isn’t their own. The biggest problem they encountered while pushing for security reforms was getting their transporters to adhere to SLAs, and more importantly, actually enforcing them.

Any logistics manager worth their salt will tell you, when it comes to 3PLs, there’s no backseat driving.

GSK had to find a way to secure their shipments and prevent theft without being completely dependent on their logistics partners.

The Roambee Solution

Shipment Security Through Real-time Visibility & Response


​Roambee helped GSK do what it thought impossible — independently track market vehicles to maximize its shipment visibility (and SLA enforceability) with minimum effort.

ROAMBEE'S ANSWER

Roambee's Solution

Shipment Monitoring

Roambee's Solution

Real-time Alerts & Response

Roambee's Solution

Detailed Reports


GSK started small, deploying Roambee’s shipment monitoring solution on its most critical and risk-prone routes, tracking just 50 shipments per month. ​

By tracking its shipments, GSK was able to improve the safety and security of its logistics operations by flagging SLA violations like: ​

  • Route deviation - flagging the instant a shipment veered off its prescribed (and safest) path.
  • Unscheduled stops - flagging and logging unscheduled stops, especially in areas where shipments are prone to theft or pilferage.
  • Night driving - flagging the moment a vehicle is on the road when the likelihood of accidents, theft, or hijack is high.

Every time there was a violation or suspicious event, GSK knew about it in real-time.

The company could then take the initiative, intervening and taking actions like calling the driver or alerting his supervisor. In case of theft, the company also had a better chance of recovering stolen goods before they vanished without a trace.​

Shipment tracking worked, even on less than load (LTL) shipments.​

With things going so well, GSK decided to scale up their shipment monitoring exercise - increasing the number of shipments tracked per month from 50 to 400+. ​

When they tried to scale, however, GSK realized something.​

Although the pharmaceutical company finally had the right tool to monitor shipments, GSK realized it didn’t have enough people to man the monitors, sift through all the alerts, and intervene every time something went awry. ​

Roambee stepped in, setting up automated response systems as well as a 24x7 manned incident and crisis response center - BeeCentral - that worked exclusively for GSK. ​

With Roambee’s help, a small team at GSK proactively managed its massive supply chain network. ​

By keeping an eagle eye on their outbound shipments and intervening when necessary, GSK reigned in their logistics losses and risks to near zero.​

GSK's GAINS



SLA Enforceability

Risk Reduction

Reduced Theft

Better Shipment Security

Better Customer Safety

Reduced Brand Risk


But Wait … There’s More!


As GSK began to monitor a larger number of shipments, the amount of data being gathered skyrocketed. Roambee helped GSK to collect, sort, analyze - and put that data to good use. ​

GSK began to see the patterns from its past. ​

Through detailed analysis and progressive heat-mapping, GSK began to improve operational efficiency through a better understanding of things like:​

  • The Odds of a Route Deviation or SLA Violation Leading to Theft or Damage

    Which allowed GSK to differentiate between what constituted a serious alert, and what didn’t; making sure valuable time and resources weren’t wasted on unnecessary intervention.
     
  • The Odds of a Shipment Making its Window of Delivery

    Which allowed GSK to predict ETAs more accurately and manage shipment schedules better.
     
  • The Past Performance of its 3PLs

    Which helped GSK benchmark its logistics partners. GSK could then engage its best; or use the performance information as leverage to work out better deals with the rest.
     
  • Weak Links and Factors that Affected Day-to-day Operations

    Which allowed GSK to improve overall supply chain efficiency.

Optimistic about the future of their optimized logistics, GSK then made a bold move - it dialed back on overstocking inventory across its distribution facilities. ​

GSK was confident that it could reduce buffer inventory — and its overheads — throughout the supply chain without the risk of running out of essential, life-saving drugs. ​

The company realized that supply chain visibility can be more than just a security tool — it’s the key to end-to-end optimization.​

GSK's newest advantages



ETA Predictability

JIT Inventory

Reduced Buffer Inventory

Easily Scalable Efficiency

Better Logistics Agility

GSK's Pharma's Supply Chain Today — Hale & Hearty


Through active monitoring, real-time actionable alerts, and data-driven optimization, GSK has built a more efficient and reliable supply chain; one that gives them an edge in carving out a share of the growing Indian pharmaceuticals market.

They’re transforming how they operate, reducing the complexity of their logistics management, and becoming more efficient.

The ease of transformation is also giving them the confidence to attempt supply chain initiatives that will achieve Zero Accidents, Zero Defects, & Zero Waste

  • GSK is now monitoring and rapidly expanding its vaccine cold chain as well, cementing the company’s position as the #1 private vaccine company in India.
  • GSK is now monitoring its inbound inventory as well, further improving its overall production and distribution efficiency.
  • GSK is now saving more through operational efficiencies, capital that it’s reinvesting elsewhere in the business or returning to shareholders.
  • GSK is now spending less on things like buffer inventory and the recovery of stolen goods.
  • GSK is NOW in control with Roambee.


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