Covid-19 has not only highlighted the criticality of the in-bound supply chain but some of the long-standing, systemic frailties that have allowed demand to outstrip supply and limited the supply chain’s ability to support industry growth. These include the poor interaction between biomanufacturers and suppliers and bottlenecks that could impact rapid scale-ups.
If we are to adjust to the new normal as we move from ‘pandemic to endemic’, industry must take ownership of the in-bound supply chain. It needs an overarching strategy to guide plans for solving the most critical issues and strengthen and advance in-bound supply chain operations.
BioPhorum’s Supply Partner leadership team decided it needed to ‘own’ this action and has launched its Strategic Framework for the Development of the Biopharmaceutical Manufacturing Industry In-Bound Supply Chain.
The vision is for the in-bound supply chain to be one of the best understood and managed of any industry in the world. BioPhorum Supply Partnerwill facilitate this by being the most trusted, collaborative advisory group and an engine for driving change across the global industry for everything relating to the in-bound supply chain.
Guido Kremer, Senior Consultant, Global BioPharm Center of Excellence at Merck , said that the framework would bring value to companies and their supply chain partnerships. “Going through the tough time of Covid-19, we realized that we needed to strengthen our relationships with our suppliers. The framework will allow us to work on a one-by-one basis in collaboration with our suppliers to enhance our relationships in terms of business continuity, future plans, digitalization and so on.”
The framework will guide BioPhorum’s collaborative approach to solving industry’s most important supply chain issues over the next two –five years. To support this, the team has developed a series of strategic objectives (such as ‘Providing safety, resilience and quality’ and being ‘Underpinned by end-to-end digitization’) and related success measures to evaluate progress over time.
Helped by BioPhorum Supply Partner’s membership reaching a critical mass of 30+ biomanufacturers and a similar number of suppliers, the framework will provide added focus on project selection and prioritization.
It will help us drive how we affect industry’s long-term, strategic outcomes while binding the biomanufacturer and supplier collaboration together even more because everyone will work towards the same goals. The framework will also give each member company a narrative to get the in-house support needed for their tactical and strategic initiatives.
“Biomanufacturers and suppliers generally work in parallel and do not necessarily share the same goals,” said Benjamin Jequier, Head of Site Supply Chain at Takeda. “Covid-19 has shone a light on this situation and has been a nightmare in the supply chain. We recognized we needed a common language to understand each other’s challenges and needs. The Framework is patient-centric, responds to regulatory affairs and will allow us to put all of our energy into solving industry’s most important challenges.”
Developing the framework echoes the conversations of the Senior BioPhorum Connect group consisting of senior sponsors in the industry, which has looked to find a way to move away from point solutions to industry-wide solutions for problems that need to be addressed.
To share a phrase with Dutch multinational dairy cooperative FrieslandCampina (one of our members that supplies cell culture media ingredients), we want to influence the whole supply chain ‘from grass to glass’. For example, from the soya bean field that makes the protein for cell culture media through to the glass vial containing the end product before it is injected into a patient.
The framework may even lead to self-sustaining projects that exist beyond the interaction with BioPhorum. These projects may be independently run and funded, such as training courses with BioPhorum best practices built-in, a web platform for pre-qualifying suppliers and/or allowing the use of standard processes across the in-bound supply chain (e.g. with common contract terms). This will involve BioPhorum forming partnerships to collaborate with other external organizations to help achieve the in-bound supply chain vision to benefit all stakeholders and, ultimately, patients.
It will also help with BioPhorum’s ‘One voice’ conversations with regulatory agencies and other bodies so they can see we have a clear direction that our individual projects are working towards.
This unifying framework will help unite biomanufacturers and suppliers in collaboration and partnership. This is the first strategy of its kind to develop the in-bound supply chain for the biomanufacturing industry and show a higher level of commitment and partnership to make sector-wide changes – rather than the current complicated, confusing and inefficient way with every company having to create multiple individual ways of addressing shared issues.