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An approach to exploring integrationbenefits of continuous flow technologies within Pharmaceutical supply chains


*Corresponding author
Centre for International Manufacturing, Institute for Manufacturing,
Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge, CB3 0FS, United Kingdom


The approach set out here enables the exploration of the drivers of, and interactions between the main sub-systems in current multi-tier Pharmaceutical supply chains. A methodology is introduced to identify reconfiguration opportunities that support the re-integration of these sub-systems using continuous flow technologies, within selected Clinical and Commercial supply chains, and their discrete API, Formulation, Pack, Distribute, and final Patient Delivery models. Opportunities for re-integration of these sub-systems are presented and the drivers for end-to-end integration identified.


Many industries have witnessed the progressive ‘disaggregation’ of their value networks driven by specialisation and the geographic dispersion of key activities. Previous research has provided rich narratives on these changes to industry structure (1) focusing on the structural changes driven by outsourcing, off-shoring and technology trends (2). Other researchers have adopted a value chain perspective including the identification of different patterns of specialisation and internationalisation, as firms seek to develop competitive positions across the value network while seeking to integrate external capabilities and capture the benefits of location (3-5). More recently, the disaggregation phenomena has been discussed in terms of the emerging capabilities of new actors that fundamentally change replenishment and business models (6). This more complex fragmented and dispersed network of actors however poses a major challenge in how to analyse, design and configure these increasingly complex industrial systems. This problem is particularly acute in those sectors, where ‘multiple tiers’ of component and intermediate product manufacture ...

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