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Comparative shopping sites are gaining popularity fast. With good reason! Why would you pay more for a product or service if you can get the same quality at a lower price? Comparative shopping sites help us determine where to get the highest quality at the lowest price.
If only such websites would exist for the pharmaceutical industry! The global nature of this industry makes it challenging to find the best place for buying raw materials and for finding partners for the production, storage, transport and distribution of pharmaceutical products.
In this article you will learn more about my never-ending search for the optimum quality and price, and why being Head of Quality for a biotech startup is such an amazing job.
My title? Head of Quality. My job? Traveling the world to find the best partners.
My name is Frans, and I work as Head of Quality for a startup biotech company. Since we are a startup company it is crucial to choose the right partners for manufacturing, storing, transporting and distributing our future products right off the bat.
Making the right decisions for partnering in this early stage will be beneficial for our patients and our company later on. Making the wrong decisions … well, you get the idea. This is why I travel the world frequently to find the best partners to help us produce our medicines.
Selecting, qualifying and monitoring partners all over the world
In the past 3 months I have met up with partners in more than 10 countries. For each of these visits, our team follows a 3-step procedure:
1. Selection of partners
For each of our needs, our business developers first make up a shortlist of potential partners based on quality, price and capacity. After discussing this shortlist, I send out a request for information (a questionnaire) to the companies that have survived our initial screening. Based on the information we get from these companies, we prioritize our potential partners based on quality and price. Then our business developers start up negotiations to agree on the terms and conditions for the partnership and the delivery of products and services.
2. Qualification of partners
If we have agreed upon the terms and conditions for the potential partnership, I visit the candidate partner in person. In this stage it is my task as Head of Quality to thoroughly assess the equipment, supply chain, quality and staff of our future partner. If I am convinced of the quality and if our business developers can agree on good delivery conditions, we sign a formal partnership.
3. Monitoring of partners
Based on the importance of our partner for our supply chain, we plan regular visits to our partner to ensure the quality and the health of the supply chain. These visits can occur once a year or every few years. If we don’t visit a partner on a regular basis, we keep in touch through written briefings and status updates and discussions by phone.
Making or buying pharmaceutical products?
Just like in any other industry, everybody in the pharmaceutical industry aims at finding the best quality at the lowest price and with as little hassle as possible. That is why it is crucial to make the right decisions up front.
Such decisions can also mean not to buy individual products and services from one or different partners, but to find one partner to produce, store and/or transport one or more products for us instead. By outsourcing these parts of the supply chain, we can focus on research and the distribution of our pharmaceutical products.
Evidently, if you outsource the first steps of your supply chain to one subcontractor, this partner has a major impact on your whole supply chain. Hence, choosing such a one-stop partner is a very intensive process with very thorough selection and qualification procedures and continuous and intensive monitoring.
Would you like to learn more?
Would like to know more about my work as Head of Quality and about how your medicines are produced and how they travel the world before they land on the shelves of your local pharmacist? Then keep a close eye on this blog! If you subscribe below, you get all our future blog posts delivered in your inbox as soon as they are published on this website.
Frans Bosselaar has been working in the pharmaceutical industry for almost 20 years now. Over the years he has been involved with the production, qualification, validation, supply chain and quality assurance of medicines.