When considering single-use solutions there are many different variables to consider, such as extractables and leachables, particulates, flow rates, pressures, disposal, scalability, connection methods, equipment etc.
Once all these things are considered there is still a very big question remaining…
Who is responsible for securing my single-use supply chain?
Should I, the manufacturer of the drugs, be responsible for carrying a safety stock level on site, to cover any unexpected spikes in demand or manufacturing problems with my product supplier? Doesn’t this negate some of the benefits I achieve in reducing my Capex from using single-use.
Should I, the manufacturer of the single-use solution, be responsible for carrying a stock level that covers potential spikes in demand of all my product range across thousands of customers globally? Is this even possible? This causes debate and an imperfect relationship when it comes to trying to maintain a secure supply of process critical product.
Close relationships are key in the supply of single-use technology
The use of single-use products within the life sciences industry, lends itself perfectly to the need for local supply partners who work closely with the customer base within their territory and partner with the manufacturing companies of the single-use solutions. Working closely with customers to understand the requirements and potential demand allows the distribution partner to control the supply chain perfectly for their customers, building a close relationship and carrying stock locally to meet the customer demand, ensuring that any spikes or issues are fully covered.
This can only be achieved when the links in the chain are seen as essential to one another, each link being co-dependent on the other but all working in the same direction, to ensure a secure supply chain. Ultimately, if a product can’t be supplied on time, it is irrelevant how perfect the technical solution is, as it has not achieved the goal it is intended for.
Why should I deal with a Distribution Partner?
Once the challenge of getting a product on time is overcome by using Distribution Partners, the perception of the end user is often that costs will increase, the technical support will be inferior to that offered by the manufacturer or there will be no notification of changes in product or process. This may often be the case with resellers of product, but Distribution Partners add true value to the process.
The Distribution Partner is far more than just a “box shifter” who takes a margin for selling product on. Distribution Partners take part in comprehensive training programmes with the manufacturing companies, they have change control processes in place, receiving up-to-date change control notifications from the manufacturers which are passed onto their customers. Distributors work with their customers and suppliers to ensure a secure supply chain from start to finish. Regular meetings and training with their manufacturing partners allows the Distributors to keep customers up to date with the latest new technologies for the industry. In many cases it is the customer feedback from the local Distribution Partners to the manufacturers that drives the next generation of product development. Based on feedback from the end users and the technologies they say they would like to see. On the rare occasion that the Distribution Partner is challenged technically, or the end user wants direct communication with the manufacturing company, the openness of the partnership agreement allows for all parties working to a common cause, the end user being satisfied with product and service.
The final potential objection to using Distribution Partners is that if the end user has global operations and the Distributor only holds distribution rights in the UK. In a strong partnership where Distribution Agreements determine the areas covered and distributors have a mutual respect for each other’s territories this should not be a concern. With strong relationships between the Distribution Partners across the globe, and a good working relationship with the manufacturer it is often the case that good Distribution Partners can share customer requirements and particular challenges that have been over come with a specific technology on one site with a sister company elsewhere in the world, all within the constraints of customer NDA’s.
Dealing with distribution partners enhances the customer service experience. As the Manufacturer recognised their strengths lie in focussing on developing and manufacturing products, choosing to invest in training for the specialist Distribution Partners. By dealing with the Distribution Partners it provides the customer with technical support, dedicated customer service all within the same time zone. In offering these services at a local level there is an allowance for cultural differences across markets and particular demands of that country’s customer base to be met.
What is your experience in using single-use distribution partners?
Are there areas that you feel single-use distribution partners can improve?
We’d love to hear your thoughts.
BioPharma Dynamics Ltd are very proud to be the chosen Distribution Partner for the following companies in the UK Life Sciences Market, we are able to offer complete solutions for fluid transfer within the processing of pharmaceuticals and biopharmaceuticals.
From the supply of single components, through to Gamma Irradiated ready-to-use assemblies:
- Saint Gobain Performance Plastics – (Biopharm)
- Colder Products Company (CPC)
- Parker Dominic hunter – (SciLog Product Range)
- Quattroflow Pumps
- SMC Pneumatics (Specialist Life Sciences Distributor)
- Kest Technologies
- Dry Link (Life Sciences Market UK)