Challenges Faced by Large Clinical Supplies Service Providers

But what do we mean by flexibility? I have spent most of my career with large clinical supplies service providers. Over the years, one of the main criticisms I heard from clients was we were, or were getting, 'too big and inflexible'. In many cases, I felt this criticism was unfair and quite often borne out of frustration. Some activities just take time and are out of the control of the service provider – moving a job in a production schedule impacts on other clients/projects, material availability and documentation. In other cases, it is true that as service providers took on more clients and more, larger projects flexibility can suffer.

1: Impacts of Large Projects on Flexibility: Large projects can block schedules for days/weeks/months, making it difficult to accommodate short notice jobs.

2: Pricing and Utilization: Provider pricing is usually based on a minimum (high!) level of utilization of people, rooms or equipment. Service providers need to stay booked up, or they will lose money. They need to operate at high levels of utilization or their prices are uncompetitive. This impacts on flexibility.

2: Communication and Decision-Making Challenges in Growing Companies: As companies grow, communication and decision making can suffer, making it more challenging to get the buy in needed from all stakeholders to turn a request around quickly.

4: Commercial Factors in Scheduling Decisions: Scheduling decisions are often commercially driven. If a small biotech that represents a fraction of revenue is competing for the same slots as a Big Pharma client spending $millions every year, who gets the slot?

When I joined previous companies, I dreamt of the day when we would be big and have lots of people, rooms and equipment to be able to accommodate the short notice changes so common in our industry. How wrong I was!

RxSource: A Different Approach to Flexibility

RxSource is different. We specialize in smaller projects for early phase or orphan drug clients. As a result, our packaging capacity is usually booked up in blocks of a few hours, as opposed to days/weeks/month. This gives us the ability to quickly accommodate client packaging requests and changes, because we don't have to wait weeks for the next available packaging slot. No matter how small a client or project is… every client and project is significant to us, so all of our clients enjoy the same flexible service levels. Finally, we are still at a size where nobody in our team is more than one step away from a decision maker, so our response times are fast. This is how we are able to offer average turnarounds of as little as 2 weeks from receipt of all materials to final release.

So if you are looking for a service provider for your next urgent clinical trial supplies project, give us a call! In terms of flexility, size matters… but not in the way you might think.

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