16 May 2023
Michael Wolfe By Michael Wolfe

Can CDMOs Overcome Supply Chain Disruption?

The Covid-19 pandemic has led to lasting supply chain disruptions for CDMOs across the pharmaceutical industry. The start of the pandemic led to an unprecedented dual strain of demand surge and supply crunch alongside issues of global stockpiling and logistical shutdowns due to lockdowns and travel bans. These issues alongside closures to manufacturing sites and limited access to base materials left supply chains heavily disrupted. Whilst many aspects of society have regained a sense of pre-pandemic processing, the pains of supply chain disruptions are still being felt across the industry. With new variants continuing to emerge, delays in worldwide vaccination and the threat of future pandemics, vigilance and planning for future resilience is crucial.

With CDMOs across the pharmaceutical industry at a particular vulnerability, how can we effectively safeguard against further supply chain disruptions caused by the pandemic? A number of strategies are quickly emerging that are worth taking note of. 

CDMO Hacks for Disruption Navigation.

1. Exploiting Technology

Pharmaceutical CDMOs that are best prepared to thrive amongst future supply chain disruption are those embracing new technologies to the fullest. Rooting comprehensive and connected technologies in the foundation of pharma development enables strong communication and proactive response to changes in supply. Internal and external tech comms mean contact with suppliers, contract manufacturers, and distributors can remain streamlined and accurate, with space for collaborative data insights across the supply chain network as needed.

Technology can help CDMOs looking to stay ahead of further pandemic supply chain disruptions anticipate and react to changes before problems arise, ensuring mitigation of manufacturing problems, late supply issues, and unmet consumer demand.

2. Planning with Data In Mind

Those with supply chain disruption in mind should use data-driven processes to plot product demand and ensure clear communications across the supply chain. The greater the demand signal CDMOs are sharing with suppliers, the greater the output of production - which can help mitigate future shortages whilst ensuring your needs are understood and fulfilled.  

Developing processes that collate and process demand data in times of reliable supply can help support increased demand in times of supply chain disruption. Future thinking CDMOs should be onboarding these processes for longstanding success.  

3. Nurturing Relationships

Throughout the pandemic, one of the main lessons learnt across all industries was the importance of nurturing relationships. For CDMOs looking to mitigate future supply chain disruption, developing strong supplier-customer relationships is an essential foundation. CDMOs know more than many the need to develop solid networks of varied suppliers so the range of materials needed can be reliably provided. Weekly comms, consistent report delivery, or monthly meetings with respective points of contact should be a standard, especially if you are dealing with materials already in high demand or at threat of shortage. A high level of engagement as a lived value ensures a continuous communication of current demand signals and increased supply stability.  

CDMOs That Thrive.

Preparing for ongoing security and surviving through future supply chain disruption may seem a daunting prospect for CDMOs, particularly as we emerge from the unprecedented struggles of the pandemic. However, implementing robust and tangible working processes to put supply chain success at the centre of working practice is the best way to develop a healthy outlook and ensure longevity. A team that understands how to nurture forward-thinking talent and curate a collective focus is one that succeeds. Seeking talent advice is a wise early step in the development of supply chain resilience.

Are you interested in discussing any of these topics, or think I've missed something? I'd love to hear from you. Drop me a message and connect on LinkedIn, or email me at Michael.Wolfe@charltonmorris.com.

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Michael Wolfe

Michael works as part of a CDMO team within CM Life Science and specialises in recruiting technical positions within Europe. In his role as a Business Consultant, he is always speaking with his network to develop his industry knowledge and build connections throughout the space.


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