Practical Tips for Managing Supplier Risks in the Life Sciences Industry – Part 2

Practical Tips for Managing Supplier Risks in the Life Sciences Industry – Part 2

Florian Czaszewicz, Industry Solutions Consultant, Pilgrim Quality Solutions, an IQVIA company

Earlier this week we shared the first in a two-part series on practical tips for managing supplier risks in the Life Sciences industry. In the previous post we discussed how resource planning, understanding the rules, preparation, and planning lay the foundation for a successful supplier-risk management program. In today’s post we’ll provide practical tips for setting goals, coaching recommendations, and best practices for supplier performance and risk monitoring.

Set Goals and Objectives

Setting objectives around supplier performance is paramount to staying focused and achieving desired results. This includes determining the goals to work towards, as well as their associated performance evaluations.

Examples of quantitative or qualitative objectives that could be measured against supplier performance are:

  • Detecting and Resolving Raw Materials Problems
  • Improving On-Time Delivery Rates
  • Decreasing the Number of Nonconformances, Deviations, and Complaints
  • Decreasing Critical or Major Findings (an indicator of increasing supplier compliance)
  • Reducing Cycle Times

Objectives will serve as a constant reminder of what needs to be done to improve performance. These goals need to be part of a focused tactical plan endorsed by the organization leadership. A communicated forward-thinking strategy will guarantee that all efforts, means, and resources are committed, converging, and deployed within agreed timelines to make change happen.

On Your Marks, Get Set, Go!

To avoid ending in a hopeless race, simply because it will be impossible to run after all suppliers, “getting set” by enabling risk assessment, control, communication, and review within and across functional areas is of prime importance.

Information from different sources such as Audits, Inspections, Complaints, Investigations, Out-Of-Specifications or Trends, Nonconformances, Deviations, Corrective Action Preventive Action records (CAPAs), Preventive Maintenance, Compliance Statuses, or other valuable Quality records data must be dynamically and systematically captured and shared (preferably in real-time) throughout the product lifecycle and value chain.

To reach a higher state of efficiency, the use of an automated, global, closed-loop Enterprise Quality Management System (EQMS) platform allows organizations to detect and estimate risks associated with potential areas of concern by making data capture, measurement, and analysis effective and visible to all players. If the solution accommodates Supplier processes as an integrated part of the overall work stream of Quality efforts, it can trigger red flags, alerts, notifications, and escalations to enforce necessary actions. All entry points can feed a unified, collaborative platform for better supplier quality control and risk mitigation.

Learn, Adjust, and Improve

Automated tools and capabilities add significant value to traditional monitoring methods as they help gather knowledge and trigger appropriate actions. These capabilities, in the form of a complete platform with compliance and risk incorporated into every single process, provide the foundation for managing both internal and supplier-related quality events in a single system. However, to get quick and clear insights, the Quality Intelligence component is where critical supplier quality data is integrated and aggregated to obtain accurate supplier ratings or scorecards. These can be cross-referenced to records of events for full traceability and transparency.

Visualizations, predictive analytics, queries, dynamic reports, and dashboards help organizations make the clear distinction between good and poor performing suppliers with their associated risk levels. That information drives and prioritizes which suppliers should be audited, where, when, for what, and how often, thereby reducing the risk by focusing on the suppliers that matter the most.

Such a platform empowers responsible users to perform data discovery to uncover trends, patterns, and data outliers. This is where every dimension of Supplier Risk Management can be examined and performance monitoring can realize its full potential.

Coaching Recommendations

Whether your supply chain is diverse and complex, or you’re dealing with critical, single source suppliers, it’s critical to embed risk analysis and management into supplier quality programs.

To accomplish this, it will be important to set goals and objectives, to communicate these objectives, and to continuously adjust and improve based on supplier performance. Automated EQMS tools, including Pilgrim SmartSolve®, add significant value to your supplier quality efforts by providing the ability to drive, prioritize, and integrate supplier risk activities within your existing quality processes.


SmartSolve Supplier Quality Management

Data Sheet

Download this data sheet to learn how to implement a risk-based incoming inspection process and more.

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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