During Covid-19, supply chains were under significant pressure and collaboration between suppliers and biomanufacturers was intensive and demanding. However, each partnership performed in the best way possible to maintain and satisfy each other’s business requirements.
Moving on from the pandemic, it is evident that some aspects of the supply chain are recovering while others are not. A critical factor during Covid-19 was the lead times for raw material supply.
Conceptually, a lead time is a measurable item; however, there are many lead time concepts, definitions, practices, and training programs for supply chain executives. Companies often have their own definitions, which might be detailed in the purchase order terms and conditions or within a contract. Industry needs a common language and consistent understanding to reduce risk and ensure that both parties fully understand the requirements of a transaction.
For example, the need to communicate delays in material deliveries lies with the supplier, while biomanufacturers must communicate requested delays to delivery dates. Having different understandings about lead times can only cause problems.
To re-evaluate lead times in industry, it is important to bring some consistency across the supply chain and that is why we have published a Lead times best practice guide.
Developed by supply chain experts in BioPhorum Supply Partner, it contains industry-agreed definitions for terms such as total lead time, inventory days, and economic order quantity.
A clearly defined lead time will prevent misunderstandings that can result in potential economic losses through missed deliveries or manufacturing shutdowns. Often, pending orders are a source of misunderstanding as the time-lapse can be significant, especially for bespoke products.
As we move from ‘pandemic to endemic’, now is a good opportunity to reset the expectations on timelines. What’s your definition of a lead time?