On 10-11 October 2023, the seventh FlyPharma Conference Europe successfully concluded in Vienna, Austria.
FlyPharma Europe, a conference and exhibition for the pharmaceutical logistics industry, brought together industry leaders, regulators, and logistics service providers to discuss the latest innovations and best practices in pharmaceutical and life science transportation. Attendees enjoyed informative presentations and productive networking opportunities over the two-day event. FlyPharma Europe 2023’s success proves its status as a vital platform for advancing the industry and establishing valuable partnerships among key stakeholders.
The event welcomed some familiar faces from previous conferences as well as many new ones in attendance during the course of the two days, and the conference was positively received by delegates.
With a global audience of pharma and logistics experts, Vienna was chosen as FlyPharma’s host city to discuss the most recent supply chain challenges and industry best practices. The conference’s main focus was to explore ways to collaborate and expand both in Vienna and beyond, with an emphasis on supply chain hot topics and opportunities such as digitization and sustainability. Vienna AirportCity offered significant support to the conference as its host sponsor.
The event began with a pre-conference welcome reception and drinks, held on 9 October. The reception took place in Office Park 4, Vienna AirportCity and offered delegates the chance to ‘break the ice’ and meet prior to the main event.
The conference launched on 10 October with a networking breakfast. FlyPharma Europe Chair, Geert Leroy, opened the conference before welcoming to the stage a variety of expert pharma and logistics speakers. Leroy outlined the theme of day 1, which gave an insight into each supply chain stakeholder’s key processes. Wolfgang Scheibenpflug, Senior Vice President Real Estate and Landside Management at Vienna Airport, delivered a welcome address to the audience, speaking about Vienna Airport and the developments it has made in recent years. Scheibenpflug then introduced the Austrian State Secretary, Mr Florian Tursky, who gave a speech on Vienna’s strengths, the challenges the city has faced and recent investment into the AirportCity.
Keynote speaker Maria Kounenaki, Executive Director, Pharma Supply Chain at Bristol Myers Squibb, then gave a talk on the next decade of life science logistics, which discussed the impact this sector is expected to have on the whole supply chain. Peter Reulbach, who is Senior Manager Cargo Business Development – AirportCity Development – Real Estate and Landside Development at Vienna Airport, spoke on how the role of the airport has developed over time and future strategies for supply chain modernization.
The morning’s networking and refreshments break was sponsored by Rickenbacker International Airport, who shared a presentation on their facilities and current market trends. A lively exhibition area proved an excellent opportunity for delegates to network.
Up next in the main conference room was Carolin Gerstenmaier, Head of Industry Development at Lufthansa Cargo AG, to discuss an airline’s perspective on flying pharmaceuticals and the revelation of air cargo’s pivotal role in the pharmaceutical industry, posing questions such as: ‘why does flying pharma remain a captivating spectacle?’
Luiz Barberini, Operations Manager – External Manufacturing Latin America at Bayer, gave a well-received address highlighting that, during the last mile of a product’s journey, it is critical that handling standards remain high and operational processes remain consistent, compliant and efficient. Following Barberini was Christian Koxholt, Vice President Pharma and Healthcare Europe at Kühne + Nagel AG, tackling the impact of product life cycle in pharmaceuticals and the role of mutual supply chain design with the LSP.
There then followed a break for lunch and networking, which was sponsored by DB Schenker; their presentation covered the company’s dedicated pharma services and commitment to sustainable logistics.
Christina Norén, Corporate QA GDP Manager at Octapharma, was the first to speak after lunch on how the quality of a product can be maintained during its journey, discussing topics such as sharing quality expectations with logistics partners, assessing suitability of partners, and compliance challenges and approach. Mohamed Nouh, Business Development Director – Software and IoT at SkyCell AG, explored the future and direction of digitalization, including the crucial need for resilient pharmaceutical supply chains in an era marked by constant disruptions.
During the afternoon break, delegates were treated to traditional apple strudel and Viennese coffee, sponsored by Pharma.Aero. Frank Van Gelder, Secretary General at Pharma.Aero, then led a workshop on how, for the industry to be taken seriously in the long term, it needs cross-industry pollination across the entire life science supply chain and logistics community to develop better skills. In the workshop, Van Gelder divided the audience into groups before tasking them with a collaborative project.
The day’s sessions concluded with closing remarks from the conference Chair. After a short interval, delegates transferred to FlyPharma’s highly anticipated evening networking event in the cellars of the historic Vienna City Hall in central Vienna, the Wiener Rathauskeller. Beginning with welcome drinks and live traditional music, guests were then treated to a gala dinner and a speech from Vienna Airport’s Wolfgang Scheibenpflug.
Day 2 on 11 October commenced with breakfast and a recap of day 1 from Chair, Geert Leroy. The opening keynote for the second day was Vatsala Sadasivan, Global Operational Excellence Lead, R&D at Sanofi, who gave a talk on the challenges in applying operational excellence in R&D and developing an operational excellence roadmap. A panel titled ‘Logistics Academy for Shippers’ then followed, which discussed the difficulties often faced by pharma and biotech shippers in navigating the two highly regulated industries of pharmaceutical manufacturing and logistics.
A morning networking break, sponsored by Lassmann Pharma Logistics and delta T, featured a presentation on the company’s specialist pharma services. Gülderen Tuna-Mwale, Regional Sector Head Life Sciences Europe at DHL Global Forwarding, then spoke on the critical topic of ‘The Future of the Industry’. Next was a panel on ‘Is Sustainability the Key to Better Business?’, where the conference heard key questions raised and answered on ‘what is each stakeholder’s active sustainability goal over the next 5-10 years?’, ‘how do these goals blend together within the supply chain?’ and ‘what does “air cargo sustainability” mean for each stakeholder, and how can each contribute?’
This was followed by the closing keynote speaker, Alexandru Popa, Associate Director – Blockchain for Digital Supply Chain at MSD. He gave a talk on ‘Enhancing Pharmaceutical Supply Chain Resilience Through Blockchain’, which covered topics such as the pharma supply chain’s digital evolution, how collaboration makes us all more resilient and the future of the industry.
The conference then heard closing remarks from the Chair, who invited host sponsor Vienna Airport’s representatives to the stage, alongside FlyPharma Europe’s organizers, for a final photo opportunity. Lunch and further networking preceded an exclusive site tour of Vienna Airport’s Pharma Handling Center and cargo facilities, which concluded the event.
The FlyPharma Conferences team would like to thank all speakers and sponsors for their contribution towards making this event a success.
FlyPharma Europe will return for its eighth year in 2024. Full details for the next conference will be announced soon.
Visit the FlyPharma Europe website at www.FlyPharmaEurope.com for more details on this year’s event and to register your interest for future conferences.