When it comes to the maturity of risk-management efforts, the life-sciences sector has significantly lagged high-tech, Young says. Coming from tech to life sciences, he found few relevant processes in place industry-wide. But progress is being made. ThermoFisher was driven by major pharmaceutical customers to adopt new risk-management techniques.
The company has a multi-tier supply chain, with effective change management a must. All parties need to be kept informed of changes in product content. Amgen, for one, requires such information not only from ThermoFisher, but from upstream suppliers as well. In the process, the company has led the way toward life sciences participation in the Supply Chain Resiliency Council.
ThermoFisher’s vice president of operations wanted to know what the next step was on the company’s risk-management “maturity curve,” Young says. Having put into place a program to ensure supplier quality and validation, the company has now turned to improving the manner in which it rates and ranks all vendors across the vertical.
With just two enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems in place, ThermoFisher does a good job of supplier mapping, Young says. His group manages some 6,000 SKUs across 4,000 vendors. Even with a network of such complexity, he is able to access appropriate levels of granularity and visibility into the company’s supply base.
ThermoFisher has combined technology with business-process change to effect the necessary improvements in risk management. But work remains to be done. Two years into the initiative, the company is still the beta phase, adding vendors each quarter. “It’s going to be a big project,” says Young.
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