Adapting discrete goods supply chains to support mass customisation of pharmaceutical products

Maria Siiskonen*, Niels Henrik Mortensen, Johan Malmqvist, Staffan Folestad

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Emerging research within the field of personalised medicines has aimed to enhance patient treatment through the use of pharmaceutical products that are customised to the individual needs and preferences of the patient. The currently dominant production platforms of pharmaceutical products, however, regard a mass production paradigm and are thus unfeasible for the production and provision of personalised medicines. The production platforms are not designed or are intended for a customisation context. Operating such a context with the current supply chain entails challenges such as increasing costs, time to patient and efforts in quality assurance activities. To address these challenges, this paper presents four reconfigured pharmaceutical supply chain designs. A qualitative operational performance assessment elicits the strengths and weaknesses of the respective supply chain design operating in a customisation context. The results suggest that a later point of variegation, that is, the point in the supply chain where the final customisation is achieved, can relieve the operational effort of the stakeholders in the supply chain while providing the benefits of personalised medicines, that is, an enhanced treatment outcome of the patient. A trade-off remains, however, between the supply chain’s decreased operational effort and degree of necessary reconfigurations, such as introducing new functions to stakeholder operation, reallocating activities to other stakeholders or educating stakeholders.

Original languageEnglish
JournalConcurrent Engineering Research and Applications
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This work has been funded by the Chalmers University of Technology Foundation. This work has also been funded by the received stipend from the Göran Wallberg stiftelse to facilitate my stay at the Technical University of Denmark for 4 months to conduct this study, and this support is greatly appreciated.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2021.


  • Integrated design
  • Mass customisation
  • Personalised medicines
  • Pharmaceutical supply chain design
  • Supply chain reconfiguration

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