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Fang Liu Interviewed on Supply Chain Brain

Fang Liu, Director of Life Sciences Supply Chain at Clarkston Consulting was interviewed on clinical supply chain strategies by Supply Chain Brain at a recent conference.  Excerpts from the interview and a link to the full article from Supply Chain Brain are included below.

SCB: What are some cross-industry best practices that clinical supply chains should be adopting?

Liu: Based on my personal experience, there are seven fundamental best practices that I would recommend for clinical supply-chain organizations. The first is having a centralized planning organization. Clinical supply chains have been very fragmented. A lot of people are just doing their own thing. A central organization can act as a liaison to integrate the clinical side with regulatory, quality and finance functions.

SCB: What about the second one?

Liu: The second is planning buildable materials. The BOM [bill of materials] concept is traditional, and probably isn’t disruptive, but it’s a great way for the clinical organization to handle changes to the product. It ensures that all critical materials are planned. If you don’t put them into the planning BOM, people might forget about them. Also, you want to demonstrate that your drug is better than your competitors, so you have to buy their drugs, which are very expensive. You need to include that as part of your planning BOM.

SCB: What about number three?

Liu: Material requirements planning. A lot of people, especially in smaller clinical stage companies, don’t quite follow MRP logic. I come from the food and beverage industry, where the need for that went without saying. But in clinical supply chains, I see a big disconnect between the demand side and supply side. The supply people — the product-development team — make their own agenda. Then the clinical side says, this is how many drugs we need for the patients we want to put into the clinical trial. There’s not a time-phased, MRP process. The whole planning process needs to be more structured and streamlined.

Read the full article and watch the video on seven clinical supply chain strategies here.