Operational and IT Challenges to Effective Supplier Management

Operational and IT Challenges to Effective Supplier Management

Justin Smith, Manager, Product Management, Pilgrim Quality Solutions, an IQVIA company

Supply chain complexity has grown from simple domestic sourcing, manufacturing and distribution, to a complex evolution of global sourcing, manufacturing and distribution centers. Maintaining control of your entire supply chain is monumental and maintaining compliance is absolutely essential. If your organization hasn’t already implemented an automated Supplier Management system, you are undoubtedly feeling overwhelmed.

Technology is critical to securing the global supply chain because it is the only way to have visibility into products and assets across the extended supply networks, and the ability to immediately take action.

Senior management should be informed and updated regularly as to the security and integrity of critical supply chains. Overall reports usually include:

  • Metric and Data Analysis Review
  • Inspection Results (Incoming, Production/ Manufacturing, Source Inspections)
  • Nonconformance Control / CAPA Oversight
  • Complaint Handling / Corrections / Removals
  • Business Metrics (Delivery Lead Time, Technical Support, Cost Strategic Initiatives)
  • Supplier Scorecard
  • Adherence to Contracts/Quality/Purchasing Agreements
  • Audit Results and Responsiveness
  • Cost of Quality

However, current manual processes can limit the integration of applications and data for adequate analysis to effectively understand your state of supply chain quality, compliance, and potential risks. While supply chain data may be maintained within a certain quality system, departments, or other manufacturing and procurement automated solutions, in many cases different elements of an organization’s product supply, quality, regulatory and commercial functions are disconnected. An integrated quality approach needs to be embedded into the core business.

Identify Your Challenges

Ask yourself:

  • How many systems contain some supplier quality data throughout the product lifecycle?
  • How much time is spent navigating the maze of data versus using and focusing on problem solving?
  • How much time is spent on the duplication of data entry or searching for data entry errors across different supplier quality systems?
  • Can people at all points in the chain create data that are recognized from end to end?
  • SCARs – do they signal not only discrete performance issues (e.g., a failed batch), but overall degradation to the whole company?
  • CAPAs – are all sites aware of the issues that affect them and are they actively looking to make connections?
  • Holds – are they instantaneous throughout the entire chain?
  • Nonconformances – does the information get passed along forward and backward?
  • Have you truly leveraged technology to enable effectiveness, efficiency, and closed-loop processes?

Overcome Your Challenges

Although these systems provide automation that helps organizations reap the benefits of repeatability and sustainability, are they truly complementing your overall supplier quality investments? Integration allows real-time access to data stored within each system, enabling your organization to make informed decisions based on current information. But it’s not just about technology and automation.

Automation of inefficient processes, by default, will simply make your inefficiencies happen faster. A comprehensive supplier quality management system helps companies understand the significant impact that poor quality, service and delivery has on sales and profits.

Take what you’ve learned from your process inefficiencies, and your understanding of best practices, and architect them into an integrated supplier quality platform across your organization value chain. With such technology enablers in place, reporting and analysis becomes easier for management and all stakeholders to understand the supply chain state of risk, quality and compliance.


Quality In, Quality Out

Live Webinar – 7/18/18 – 10am ET

Exploring Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Supplier Quality Management (Part 1 of 4).

Supplier Quality Management


Pilgrim Quality Solutions

Pilgrim pioneered quality management software more than 25 years ago for regulated enterprises that needed a better way to deliver, track and oversee quality-related activities.

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