Wallace says life-sciences companies are looking to boost visibility and efficiency in their processes. The primary driver is cost, with new-drug development growing in complexity and waste becoming a critical concern. "It is truly an industry issue," he says.
Other factors include the globalization of operations and the need to adjust procedures in line with the success or failure of different treatments. Supply chains must be flexible in order to accommodate the trends, Wallace says.
Collaboration throughout the chain is essential. Participants must be able to view and model capacity and logistics costs, among other key elements. The ability to share supply plans with partners remains a major concern, according to Wallace. Any disruption in the supply chain can have a serious impact on clinical studies. Visibility is critical at every step of the process, from initial production through packaging, distribution and final delivery.
Bio-pharmaceutical companies can learn lessons from other industries, says Cavale. Elements of a successful operation include a solid sales and operations planning (S&OP) process, multi-tier supplier collaboration and finite shelf-life planning. S&OP, for its part, can help companies do a better job of balancing demand and supply. "We believe this can be adapted to clinical trials operations planning," Cavale says.
The benefits of boosting efficiency across the chain are many. Cavale cites on-time delivery, better control over the expiration of supply and overall improved response. In addition, "you have a fewer number of trials aborted due to a lack of supply, or [product] not reaching its destination on time."
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Keywords: supply chain, supply chain management, inventory control, transportation management, logistics management, warehouse management, WMS warehouse management, pharmaceutical supply chain, biotech supply chain, supply chain collaboration
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