Life Sciences Supply Chain Management – The Stakes Are High.
Supply chain management is top of mind these days…and with good reason: your company’s bottom line is at stake. Nowhere is this truer than in the life sciences contract manufacturing field, where the stakes can be much higher than just the bottom line. If you reside in the executive suite of a pharma company that uses external suppliers and you aren’t thinking about supply chain management and supplier integration, you should be.
Bringing a new drug to market isn’t easy, and it certainly isn’t cheap ($1 billion and up…and as high as a staggering $11 billion!). Drugs can make – or break – a life sciences company, and with so much on the line it seems obvious that suppliers should be seamlessly integrated into the company’s supply chain. The reality is, it’s frequently harder than you’d expect. As a global CRO/CMO, we believe our job is to integrate with our clients.
Beware Suppliers Who Hold You at Arm’s Length
Some suppliers have adopted (erroneously) a fortress-like approach, keeping themselves at arm’s length from clients. In some cases, past practices were carried over from an earlier time. In other cases, the pharma supplier may manufacture generics or have divisions that act in conflict with the client – necessitating compartmentalization or separation.
With regulatory bars rising higher – and the risk of supply chain disruptions becoming costlier –it’s clear that this isn’t a sustainable model. We’ve found clients overwhelmingly prefer tighter integration to maintain or increase confidence in their own supply chains and reduce the likelihood of unexpected disruptions.
The best way to ensure supply chain confidence is to remove the artificial walls between you and your supplier. Suppliers are an important extension of your business, and given your firm’s potential supply-related dependence on a CRO/CMO, tight integration can reduce the likelihood of future problems. Never forget that this mutual relationship is reciprocal: CROs/CMOs are also highly-dependent on the success of their client’s product.
Successful Supply Chain Integration Demands Effective Project Management.
As part of tight integration with clients, we use a proprietary project management system called GuarD, which puts our clients a click away from their product and us, their supplier. It’s designed to help clients overcome the difficulties involved in outsourcing projects to a foreign manufacturer while providing the highest standards of transparency, flexibility and reliability. Project planning is done using the principles of Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM), with an emphasis on flexibility to meet project timelines.
This allows clients to see Neuland’s resources as a true extension of their own, giving them 100% project transparency. As an added benefit, use of a system such as GuarD can give clients the confidence to plan downstream projects such as formulation development, formulation manufacturing and clinical trials.
Supply chain management is a critical issue for life sciences firms – one worthy of prioritization when selecting a supplier in today’s global world.
How much emphasis does your company place on managing its supply chain?