Building Business Resilience to meet Supply Challenges
SummaryMany pharmaceutical companies are pivoting almost overnight to create and deliver entirely new product lines. Unprecedented disruption to the supply chain resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic has meant that changes that normally spend months or years in the regulatory pipeline are happening in days. Kallik CEO Gurdip Singh offers some practical guidance for the pharma sector, as the requirement for business agility becomes the new normal.
- Author Company: Kallik
- Author Name: Gurdip Singh
- Author Email: Gurdip.firstname.lastname@example.org
Manufacturers of pharmaceuticals are struggling to meet demand for current product lines, while pivoting their operations to join in the race to develop a vaccine or repurpose existing drugs to treat Covid-19. This is in the context of widespread disruption across supply chains, driven by volatility in the supply of raw materials and substances. The need to repurpose patient information labelling rapidly to meet regulatory requirements is an immediate challenge.
Leaders in the pharmaceutical sector who understand and act on this new normal will have ample opportunities for growth. The possibility of future pandemics is very real. From now on, suppliers must be mindful that they may have to diversify from mainstay revenue streams at short notice. The dynamic of the supply chain has changed. Traditional, smooth processes will need to adapt to peaks and troughs.
Prepare for diversification
For the survival of many organisations, it is vital to accelerate diversification and boost speed to market. Data analytics, harnessing the power of data that companies already have, can help organisations understand their customers’ fast changing needs at a granular level. Getting information about medicines to the right stakeholders so they can use them safely and effectively is key. Patient information need no longer be produced only in the form of a label or a leaflet. Consider what is the most effective means for people to consume that information – an online video may be a useful supplement to traditional paper information.
If patient information data is stored at component level, separated into symbol, text, or phrase, right through to adaptations for different languages, it will enable faster change. That way, when a company has to diversify rapidly, it is easy to reuse existing data to create new labelling, using confirmed branding, logos and phrases. Anyone selling a drug that can be used to treat Covid-19 can repackage and deliver it within a matter of days. Reusing existing data, the company can get a new product line labelled and out very rapidly.
The virtual workforce
Social distancing measures have had a huge impact on staffing. Many organisations have been forced to put in place remote working access for office staff – that meets regulatory requirements – at short notice. Manufacturers may lose up to 50% of their on-site personnel1. To address this, some manufacturers have adjusted shift patterns to reduce the number of staff onsite at any one time. Longer term, increasing process automation is more effective.
Analyst firm McKinsey highlights how the manufacturing sector, where physical distancing can be challenging, is tapping into the Internet of Things (IoT): “In the recent past, there was some scepticism about applying the Internet of Things (IoT) to industry. Now, many industrial companies have embraced IoT to devise safety strategies, improve collaboration with suppliers, manage inventory, optimise procurement, and maintain equipment. This virtual shift will help digitise and scale much-needed expertise across the organisation to enable the extended and often virtual workforce to become more focused, effective, and more productive.”2
Significantly accelerated deployment of Industrial IoT, is already contributing more data visualisation and insights across operations. Remotely managed virtual solutions can help companies adjust to a very different future by reducing costs, enabling physical distancing, and creating more flexible operations.
Sharper focus on efficiencies
Pharma companies who put systems in place that enable them to diversify their product lines, update product information and labelling to regulatory requirements quickly, and accelerate time to market will be in the strongest position to compete in future. Driving efficiency has always been key to business success. The sector’s response to the pandemic has sharpened the focus on efficiencies that enable a company to pivot business models more quickly to address supply challenges and meet fast-changing demands.
About the author:
Gurdip Singh is CEO of Kallik, the market-leading enterprise labelling company, and a deeply experienced practitioner and leader in life sciences industry transformation.