The Single-Use Supply Chain: How To Avoid Surprises And Navigate Change
By Eric Hennessy and Ian Burdick, Charter Medical
Even as the COVID-19 pandemic recedes, the supply chain difficulties it created have persisted. As suppliers at all levels of the biopharma supply chain ecosystem recover, global demand for most biopharma materials continues to grow, creating widespread competition for those materials causing supply chain challenges. Now more than ever, effective collaboration and communication between single-use solution (SUS) suppliers and biopharma customers will guide supply chain success.
Single-use suppliers have a unique spot in the supply chain. Since single-use suppliers operate between raw material suppliers and the final users of single-use solutions, they are uniquely positioned to see the weak links in the supply chain. With that level of vision comes the responsibility of fostering multi-level coordination and communication on all fronts. Understanding how the supply chain operates — including how challenges and solutions differ at each level — is vital to minimizing business, operational, and regulatory risk. Aggressively scheduled shipments, orders placed further in advance, supply agreements, and supplemental suppliers are a few examples of how to minimize supply chain risks.
Ultimately, an experienced SUS partner can provide a stabilizing middle-ground presence, bridging the business, communication, and regulatory gaps between raw material suppliers and biopharma end customers. The most successful supplier-customer relationships provide line of sight from all sides when it comes to the supply chain: shifting lead times, material changes, and capacity planning/forecasting. Ask questions up front when getting to know a supplier partner.
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