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Pharmaceutical Manufacturing and Packing Sourcer

Tracking in Real Time, in the Worst of Times

PMPS: What needs to be considered when delivering a vaccine around the world?

Vidya Subramanian: One of the interesting things about delivering a vaccine worldwide is understanding if the chain of custody can be maintained. Part of the problem with COVID-19, and the speed of vaccine distribution, is that you're onboarding new destinations, which means you're onboarding new last-mile carriers. A lot of the big names in the industry outsource last mile distribution to a variety of local carriers, because it’s just more efficient.

How do you then put those delays in place quickly, and drive the same sort of quality across an ecosystem? Part of having real-time tracking is the fact that data help us make better decisions. We’re all human, and this is not done with malicious intent. It’s done because people don’t realise the impact. There’s an important human element of being able to reach the last-mile person and identify real-time actions that cannot be prevented to rescue some of these shipments, whereever they are, around the world.

People have not really looked at what the security aspect is of this vaccine distribution. It's in high demand, it's got a direct impact on condition, because it is a cold-chain product. Part of what we do is ensure a chain of custody is reported, and that the product is delivered to the intended party. Considering that this is going outside the normal supply chain, big customers typically have predictable links.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has procured millions of doses of the vaccine because they want to prioritise some of the less fortunate countries. Now, their supply chain could go through UNICEF, or another chain that these pharma companies are not used to. That sort of liability, and the credibility, still comes down to the manufacturer. You don't want to have any more variables such as condition or distribution.

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An energetic leader and results-driven executive with over 15 years of solution delivery experience, Vidya Subramanian was featured in the list of ‘Supply Chain Pros to Know’ published by Supply Chain & Demand Chain Executive.

As VP of Products for Roambee, he is responsible for product strategy, product delivery, and product management with a singular focus on product-market fit.

Before Roambee, Vidya was Co-Founder and VP Professional Services at KeyTone Technologies Inc, a RFID technology company focused on providing a technology-enabled service for real-time asset monitoring through an enterprise scale sensor-based platform. Global Asset Tracking UK Ltd successfully acquired KeyTone. He has also held influential and leadership roles at Plexus Technologies Inc, KPMG Consulting, Unisys, and PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

Vidya holds a Masters in Computer Science from Temple University, US, and dual Bachelor’s degrees in Computer Science and Economics from Calvin College, Michigan, US.
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