The following is Part Two of a market education series addressing business and supply chain management challenges among emerging growth companies in pharmaceutical, life sciences and consumer product goods industry sectors in collaboration with Navigator Business Solutions.

Supply Chain Matters has collaborated with Navigator Business Solutions to identify the top seven supply chain challenges for this industry segment. The full listing of supply chain management challenges can be accessed in an infographic located on this specific Navigator Business Systems weblink.

In our prior Part One market education commentary, we addressed the first three challenges:   

  • Attempting to manage aSMB business utilizing spreadsheets populated with static data amid today’s realities of today’s 24 by 7 industry and business demands places your organization at a competitive disadvantage.
  • SMB businesses are increasingly dynamic, and require flexibility in business processes and supporting information systems to support ever-changing business growth needs.
  • Pharmaceutical, branded drug and consumer goods markets have expanded on a global basis to access growing emerging markets. Therefore, the supply chain now spans multiple production and supply chain services partners on a global scale.

Global Markets and Regulatory Compliance

The fourth challenge relates to the increased access to global markets implies a requirement for broadened regulatory compliance involving multiple regulatory agencies along with more stringent monitoring and control of supply and product value-chain controls. That implies a need for automation or digitization of control mechanisms beyond legacy or spreadsheet-laden quality control and reporting systems. Businesses must account for product genealogy tracking including batch numbers along with the accounting of expiry and stop-sell dates, which can vary among global regulatory agencies.

Detailed lot traceability becomes ever more essential, as is visibility as to product fulfillment actions within each country. In this area, there are needs for strong linkages among quality control and supply chain planning processes to support different supply and demand allotment parameters when planning for customer demand fulfillment. From a systems perspective, today’s Cloud-based ERP systems provide support for a continuous real-time data model that spans production, planning and regulatory control requirements. That should include built-in industry compliance capabilities for FDA, EMEA and other major regulatory compliance processes and information requirements.

Continuous Business and Supply Chain Management Changes

The fifth challenge relates to the increasing reality that many of today’s ongoing business and supply chain related challenges occur on a continuous, often weekly, or daily basis. That implies a need for more integrated business planning among line-of-business and various operations management teams both internally and externally based.

Consider the recent catastrophic hurricanes and historic hundred-year storms that have struck India, the Gulf Coast of Texas, most all of Florida and the island of Puerto Rico. Sources of both raw material and API supply or production have been disrupted and SMB drug and consumer products firms find themselves often challenged with the need to manage within the dynamic forces of the supply markets impacted by disruption. This implies a need for a vigilant Customer-focused prioritization process, integrated with various business performance and key customer priorities in a much more-timely basis.

A Cloud based ERP backbone system supporting SMB businesses growth requirements should have the capability to effectively control and manage such priorities across the line-of-business as well as supporting operations, and at the same time provide both senior management and operations teams with the required information needed to satisfy both customer service and overall business performance goals in a disrupted environment.

In our next blog posting in this series, we will address the remaining two challenges, namely that traditional product demand and supply forecasting techniques based on historic data are less effective, and that customer service does not end after the product sale.

Bob Ferrari

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