Integrated working a 'natural remedy' for pharma's ailments

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LONDON – This was the message from Alan Kennedy of TEAM-UP speaking at the 2017 LogiPharma Conference in Montreux on April 25th – 27th 2017. Kennedy said that the pharma supply chain needs to prioritise getting out of its silos and start working in unison to push and embrace fundamental structural reform.

The presentation from Kennedy focused on demonstrating that the pharma sector is “way behind the curve” when it comes to supply chain innovation, collaboration and integration. He presented material showing that, compared to others, the pharma industry remains very much ‘second tier’. “Disparate companies such as Amazon, Volkswagen, McDonalds and Inditex are all at the top of their game through fostering and leveraging innovative, even disruptive, supply chains built around strategic relationships and mutual trust,” Kennedy explained. “The common theme in all of these exemplar, yet very different, supply chain scenarios is ‘structured collaboration’”.

Kennedy maintains that, despite being encircled by huge challenges and disruptive forces, pharma seems oblivious to some of the potentially huge pay-offs that are on the table. “Truly transformational results are being achieved in other industries through the pursuit of strategic supply chain relationships that are ‘beyond transactional’”, he explained. “Although pharma is putting huge effort into outsourcing and is investing heavily in new technologies, it persistently fails to appreciate that all this endeavour needs to be underpinned by more strategic end-to-end integration. If a pharma company is looking for a single remedy to the problems of optimising its supply chain performance, differentiating its market presence and creating truly sustainable commercial outcomes, then it need look no further than strategic supply chain collaboration.”

TEAM-UP founder Kennedy accepts that this year the emphasis on collaborative working was more apparent than ever at LogiPharma. However, he contends that when it comes to translating intent into action the meaningful execution of real win-win relationships continues to be an elusive target for most, if not all, players.

One approach that was mooted at LogiPharma was the possibility of more asset-sharing between pharma companies and between suppliers. “Doing this will be contingent on having the necessary trust between stakeholders”, asserts Kennedy. “Such collaboration demands a highly-coordinated approach and the parties concerned might need to confer ‘pre-competitive’ status on any such asset-share arrangements. Furthermore it will necessitate being developed under the aegis of an independent ‘safe haven’ such as the not-for-profit TEAM-UP* initiative, an environment where collaborators can ‘dare, share and compare’ in conditions of openness, impartiality, and mutual respect.

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