Manufacturing supply chains are delicate — it only takes one “broken link” to significantly impact every aspect of a business’s operations. In a time when a pandemic is raging across the globe and wreaking havoc on manufacturing, maintaining an efficient, unbroken supply chain is more challenging than ever.
Companies in pharmaceuticals, medical device manufacturing, and a host of other industries are seeking ways to avoid costly interruptions by tightening their supply chains. In this post, we’ll offer some solutions your organization can consider implementing to prevent disruptions.
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Reassess Manufacturing Locations
During the 1970s, businesses started looking to move their manufacturing operations to geographical areas where they could take advantage of lower labor costs. Companies in the U.S., for instance, began shifting production to Mexico, and eventually, India and Asia.
While these plant relocations provided substantial cost savings for many years, several factors have conspired to reduce or eliminate the potential benefits. For example, COVID-19 has resulted in multiple plant closures and disrupted supply lines around the world. Growing political unrest in several nations is another contributing factor. It pays to periodically re-evaluate your global supply chain to determine whether it’s still cost-effective or increasing your risk of interruption.
Consider the Viability of Implementing Supply Chain Automation
Are your manufacturing processes compatible with automation? As technology continues to improve, automation can provide a more practical and affordable alternative to human labor in many cases. One of the most significant advantages of supply chain automation is the opportunity to integrate your systems with those of larger suppliers. By partnering with conglomerates that have access to numerous resources and advanced technologies, you’ll reduce the likelihood of a supply chain disruption within your operations.
Explore Duplicate Sourcing Opportunities
Relying on a single supplier or limited supplier base can leave you vulnerable if a problem occurs. Proactively seeking duplicate supply sources that can replicate the services of your core suppliers will enable you to make a fast, seamless shift when the need arises. It’s a reliable way to safeguard your company against disruptions resulting from unexpected shutdowns and similar issues.
Improve Supply Chain Visibility
Too many companies lack end-to-end supply chain visibility. By gaining a better understanding of every aspect of your chain, you can anticipate where a breakdown is likely to occur and take the appropriate corrective measures. The process will also help you develop a contingency plan in case a disruption occurs.
Learn From Your Mistakes
It’s not always possible to avoid an interruption even when leveraging manufacturing automation. When a disruption does occur, conduct a thorough supply chain vulnerability audit to determine the cause. Use the information you obtain to prevent the situation from happening again. Make sure you document your response procedures and make them a part of your contingency plan.
Contact Regulatory Compliance Associates® to Learn More
At RCA, we help pharma and medical device manufacturing companies like yours meet their unique regulatory, quality assurance, and remediation challenges. Contact us for more helpful advice regarding how to avoid pharma supply chain interruptions.