Pharmaceutical Online's Lori Clapper speaks with Richard Beeny, co-founder and CEO of LifeScience Logistics, about three challenges facing today's pharmaceutical supply chain. Beeny also gives advice on how drug manufacturers can combat those obstacles.
Hi, this is Lori Clapper, editor of Pharmaceutical Online and I want to welcome you to our podcast today with Richard Beeny, co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Life Science Logistics, a third party logistics services provider in the pharmaceutical, biological, and medical device industries. Welcome Richard and thanks for being with us today.
Thanks for having me, I appreciate it.
Now, Richard, let’s get right into it. Supply chain and logistics is often a subject most people take for granted. Can you provide us with an update on some of the obstacles facing today’s supply chain?
Sure. Yes, it’s true, not only with supply chain typically, taken for granted but it was also considered a bit of a necessary evil. Every pharma company had a fairly similar in-sourced structure and few, if any, were paying much attention to it.
You know, that’s thankfully changed quite a bit over the last several years and, as I see it, there are probably three major obstacles that are here now and, I think, will continue to be here.
Those are increased regulatory oversights, issues around control and ultimately, focus. Regulatory pressures are an obstacle that saves companies in this industry every day. Governments around the world are trying to tighten control of the supply chain.
Regulations such as California’s 2015 pedigree mandate and the EU’s Falsified Medicines Directive are setting the stage really for the expanded use of serialization. As these are rapidly approaching companies must begin to plan and prepare for what it’s going to take to navigate those issues.
Control is another obstacle we see time and again in the supply chain. Whether companies have shared facilities, consolidated shipping, or integrated procurement sourcing, the ability to add or shed products or even business units while maintaining secure and seamless business execution is absolutely essential.
That ultimately brings us to focus. In today’s world companies should really be focused on core competencies and revenue producing of that. Instead of having to deal with the complexities of the supply chain, companies need to focus on revenue and reinvest capital back into the business.
What advice do you have for prescription drug manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies to combat these obstacles?
Well, Lori, as you can imagine I’m going to be a big advocate for outsourcing. We’re seeing a lot of companies looking to switch to an outsource supply chain model. Having fewer logistic service providers with a wider scope increases their flexibility while also reducing the risk.
Companies also need to consider cost. Selecting a best valued partner, one that can provide all the services a company is looking for, is really, kind of, the model that most folks are following today.
How are logistics service providers helping companies to combat those obstacles?
Yes, good question. Many LSPs today are really helping to combat those obstacles by providing a couple of things. So, centralized services, for example, where an LSP is the end to end solution provider.
Basically, that means that a company can outsource their entire supply chain and all their logistic needs and really not have to worry about the day to day task of managing something that’s not their bread and butter. As you look at technology, you know, technology is another tool that LSPs use to help companies manage their products and their business.
LSPs with this technology can provide real-time information, related to everything from on-hand inventory to goods in transit — and even financial and sales analytics.
What should companies in this industry be focused on most in the future when it comes to supply chain?
I’m going to go back to what we started with. It’s really those three key categories of obstacles. It’s increasing regulatory pressures, its issues with control, and ultimately, focus.
We have it easy over here. We’re an LSP. We’re a 3PL. All we focus on are those same issues and we have enormous respect for our manufacturer partners. They have a tough job to do in a really difficult environment. I have to take my hat off to those guys.