Supplier relationship management is one of the most crucial aspects of biopharmaceutical manufacturing and affects everything from lead times and trust to dialogue and inventory management.
It has been one of the top priorities for BioPhorum and its collaborative work has seen member companies improve their supply chain communications and processes. For example, a recent BioPhorum articlehighlighted the importance of enhancing the relationship between suppliers and manufacturers.
It can also be seen in the creation of a Best Practice Guide and Maturity Assessment Tool, which helps members identify improvements and solutions for supply chain issues, and ultimately support the creation of excellence in commercial biological drug supply chains.
Since its launch, suppliers and manufacturers have used the tool and seen improved supply chain transparency and performance. Case studies from Merck, AdvantaPure® and GE (Healthcare) have already been collated and will be made available to members.
From a supplier perspective, Dan Tropea, Director of Supply Chain at AdvantaPure®, said “Collaboration across the supply chain not only guarantees optimal service levels but minimizes the inventory levels and expenses associated with unplanned production and delivery. Our end customer is a patient who relies on the industry to perform to its fullest potential; supply chain collaboration is a simple step for the industry to take.”
In the biomanufacturing community, Christian Menzel, Head of Manufacturing Science and Technology at Merck, said “We surveyed our global manufacturing network at the leadership team level. The aim was to achieve a step-change in the performance of the inbound supply chain, based on data-driven processes and decision making. The Maturity Assessment Tool gave us confidence that we could develop a baseline of the current state and identify the key places to focus our improvement efforts.”
Case study: AdvantaPure®– Improving customers’ on-time delivery (OTD) at AdvantaPure®
AdvantaPure®was facing challenges as its internal goal of OTD (for 95% of sales lines) was not on target.
Using the BioPhorum Maturity Assessment Tool, a full review of OTD data found that the management of extreme demand deviations was the leading cause of the missed OTD metric. Customers of specific items were targeted to improve forecasting collaboration and enhance manufacturing schedules and inventory levels.
Only 30% of the targeted customers regularly participated in the forecast collaboration program, but their OTD service level consistently exceeded 95%. The other 70% did not have such a consistently high service level. Generally, forecasting collaboration lacked strong communication at the end of the supply chain.
The lessons learned
Unless there is a costly increase in overall inventory levels, improvements in OTD can only happen if all supply chain parties collaborate. The cost of collaboration is relatively inexpensive compared to the cost of production, increasing inventories and drug outages.
As use of the tool continues to build across the industry, BioPhorum will maintain a collection of information and best practice that will be continually updated and shared. The Forecast and Demand Planning team is also being reformed to address the industry challenges associated with increased growth and supply chain pressures. The team will be developing planning and delivery targets over the coming weeks.
For more information, contact Bob Brooks at [email protected]