By now, the practices and procedures in managing a temperature-controlled supply chain for life sciences products have been well-established: there are international standards to follow; there are various certifications for vendor services; and there are a multitude of vendors, operating in most of the world, experienced in managing these products. That being said, there is also wide variability in what policies a manufacturer will follow, and how the terms of supply chain contracts will be written. To an unusually intense degree, upper management at many life sciences companies look critically at supply chain contracts: the cheaper the better, in this view. So there is yet another dynamic of weighing the cost of service against its quality.
It’s not a bad idea—when time and resources are available—to re-evaluate supply chain strategy for already-commercial products. Technology and vendor services are in a continual state of progress, and the economics of supply chain activities such as transportation modes and warehousing capacities change over time. So, the strategic evaluation isn’t a one-time exercise only when a product is about to be launched.
The following article by Nick Basta, Editor in Chief, Managing Partner and Founder of Pharmaceutical Commerce, lists out the factors that should go into every evaluation of supply chain options. The range of factors will vary widely from a multiproduct, multinational life sciences company, to a startup bringing one or a handful of products to market—and even the ability of the manufacturer to manage its own supply chain, versus outsourcing it to a third-party logistics provider (3PL). If you’ve seen one supply chain strategy, as the saying goes, you’ve seen one supply chain strategy.
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