In today’s global economy, speed to market is a critical factor to success. As manufacturers in every industry are looking for ways to shorten their lead and delivery time to get their products to market, pharma and healthcare companies are doing the same thing.

Speed to market is critical… and speed requires agility.

Lead times are considerably longer for pharma and healthcare companies, as compared to other industries. That’s partly due to the number of intermediaries in the supply chain — from sourcing raw materials, to meeting regulatory requirements, to packaging and distribution.

But how does a company ensure agility in their manufacturing and delivery processes when so many points of the supply chain are outside of their control?

The key is close collaboration with the service providers all along the supply chain, and working with partners who have agile organizational models themselves.

Today, I want to talk about the three main benefits that pharma and healthcare companies experience when they work with an agile supply chain partner, and how it can make all the difference in quality and in bottom-line profitability.

What Does An Agile Supply Chain Look Like?

First, let’s get clear on what we mean when we talk about being “agile“.

Being agile is about more than just reacting to an emergency or correcting a problem quickly. It’s about building an operating model that allows you to respond to shifts in market conditions and consumer demands in a timely (and cost-effective) manner.

Most of all, an agile supply chain has to be stable.

In the pharma and healthcare sector, the supply chain has a lot of moving parts. Lead time on most products is months, not weeks or days.

From sourcing raw products, to primary packaging (getting into capsule or tablet form), to secondary packaging (packing bottles into cartons) to tertiary packaging (assembling store displays), there are many players involved in getting the product into the hands of consumers.

Add to that the variability that healthcare companies need to incorporate into their product lines to address different demographics or changing retail channels and it’s easy to see how challenging these operations become.

Being agile means being able to sense and respond to changes in circumstances quickly. But it isn’t only about being fast to react — it’s about having the foundation in place to adapt to those changes and still execute quickly. But pharma and healthcare companies can’t do all that heavy-lifting themselves. They need to rely on their supply chain partners to help them get there.

3 Benefits to Working With an Agile Supply Chain Partner

Obviously, agility is good for any business. But in a complex industry like healthcare, there are many, many moving parts — which means there are potentially many points of failure.

That’s why having a supply chain partner that understands your core business, and the constraints under which you’re operating is so critical. They can help you find creative ways to respond to changing market conditions and consumer demands in the pharma and healthcare packaging world, where Ravenshoe Group operates, I see three key benefits that our customers get from working with an agile supply chain partner like us.

1. Ultra Fast Turnaround Time

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Time is money. And not just because first-to-market usually takes the market. If your company fails to deliver your products to retailers on time, you can face hefty fines.

At Ravenshoe Group, we offer a full-service model, which means that our customers don’t have to seek out other vendors or service providers to handle some of the other aspects of product packaging, like engineering prototypes or graphic design. Because we have that expertise in-house, we can turn around a project (end to end) that much quicker.

2. Customization

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Pharma and healthcare products are part of a mass market — but that doesn’t mean that companies can take a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to producing them. With ever-increasing demands from consumers and the evolution of niche verticals, large companies are challenged to meet those needs in an agile way.

An agile supply chain partner can help your you respond to market conditions promptly and nimbly. From custom packaging design to point of purchase (POP) displays, an agile co-packing partner can help you ensure that your products stand out on store shelves.

And this type of customization doesn’t just apply to marketing campaigns. In Canada, there are strict language requirements that apply to product labelling, and your products won’t get on retail shelves unless they meet them. Certain markets require different packaging standards, and an agile co-packer will help ensure their customers stay on the right side of regulatory authorities.

3. Smaller Batches

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Economies of scale are one thing, but what if your marketing initiatives don’t always fit a mass-production model? 

The marketing team at large companies may come up with a promotion that leverages certain time-sensitive market conditions, but then they can run into a lot of red tape as soon as they try to execute it — particularly if the project parameters fall outside the typical product run and batch size.

An agile supply chain partner can handle those shorter runs and still make sure the product gets to store shelves on time and with the same level of quality as higher-volume runs.

Agility Is More Than Speed

As with any global industry, the agility of the pharma and/ or healthcare supply chain has a direct impact on its ability to deliver products to its customers.

Efficient supply chain management is at the core of profitability — and agile supply chain partners help protect your margins.

In the pharma and healthcare packaging space, Ravenshoe Group is much more than just another outsourced service provider. We’re a business partner. We play a critical part in the supply chain, and we know your business well enough to pivot when you do.

Want to know more about how we can help you get your product to market quickly? Get in touch with Ravenshoe Group today.

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