Similar to the nature of the life sciences industry, supply chains are ever-changing. Previously, it was considered a cost-saving measure to create a global supply chain for your organization, but now, the trend is to reshore these supply chains to have more control and better manage potential disruptions.
This shift was spurred by the global COVID-19 pandemic, which created supply chain disruptions at a time when life sciences organizations could least afford it. With the world watching, these organizations experienced challenges such as expired ingredients, components stuck in shipping ports, and time constraints. In addition, the FDA has begun to target offshore manufacturing to ensure the products uphold the quality and safety level they expect.
The lack of a central view of supply chains led to complications and issues with siloed systems that didn’t talk to each other, relied heavily on manual processes, and could not integrate with suppliers. As a result, the focus is on a need for visibility and transparency in a supply chain relative to the order placed.
What are the Benefits of Reshoring?
First, it is important to note that reshoring or creating any changes to a supply chain is an endeavor that should not be taken lightly. Many moving parts must be considered. However, the benefits outweigh the complexity of the process.
Reshoring your supply chain to a more regional architecture allows for better active data exchange, meaning you can implement real-time inventory systems. Having more accurate, real-time visibility to your supply chain allows for more efficient alignment of production planning with customer demand.
Digital communication and automation solutions allow for the following:
- Better responsiveness
- Greater adaptability
- Agile schedule adjustments
- Less downtime
- Inventory built based on demand
How to Reshore Your Supply Chain
As previously mentioned, reshoring is no small task. Likewise, you should consider the following critical steps before starting:
- Create a supply chain plan: evaluate how it looks
- Explore the “why” behind your existing supply chain
- Ensure that the systems you plan to implement can be easily harmonized
- Determine how long your existing inventory will carry you
- Determine how long you expect the transformation will take
- Create enough inventory to cover customer demand through the transformation
- Create a robust plan to ensure you finish your transformation before you run out of product
While this is a good framework to follow, reshoring is a logistical symphony that requires precision and efficiency. Without a clear, accurate plan, you could shut down operations and stop life-saving treatments and medications from entering the consumer pipeline.
In addition to ensuring that your plan is robust and thorough, you must also consider the regulatory elements of reshoring your supply chain. For example, are each of your suppliers qualified to the level of compliance and excellence you expect? Remember, your supply base and supply chain are an extension of your organization – the way agencies around the world expect you to manage your supply chains are reflective of you.
While the elements of each reshoring project are complex and unique, and the logistics may seem intimidating, there are resources to support you. Partnering with an organization like Oxford, which is well-versed in supply chain initiatives, can be a critical part of your project. Reach out to us to learn more about how we can support you every step of the way.