~ Joel Glende, Transportation & Logistics Steering Committee Leader (BSMA)


A World at War with a Virus: COVID-19

From Pearl Harbor to the War on Terrorism, today we have not anticipated the obvious with the COVID-19 pandemic. In recent weeks, ensuring supply chain resilience is at the  advent of a new war. Supply chain professionals are  fighting the Novel Corona Virus and its relentless and voracious appetite to adversely impact  the weakest links in business continuity planning, supplier relationship resiliency, and  product availability to patients.

We at BSMA believe that perfect execution in the supply chain saves lives. This Blog will address the unprecedented challenges faced and solutions being implemented in Life Sciences so we can thrive as a BioPharma Industry by responding intelligently and collectively for a new level of timely excellence.

My first area of focus is the Global Air Freight: Capacity-Demand Hyper-Variability. Significant Imbalance caused by drastic reduction in  passenger and manufacturing  are stressing the Air Cargo sector today. In talking with many logistics executives, I am seeing the need to “re-FLEX” our Strategic Partnership approaches between Shipper and Air Freight Service Providers. For the past decade, there have been many ways that companies have been reducing cost in rates and assessorial fees by utilizing advanced data analytics and, “special contracting” and negotiating tactics to optimize freight spend. Yet many have not seen what they’ve been giving up, a resilient supplier partnership. As cargo is now being bumped or off-loaded for higher yield freight, many companies are currently seeing significant delays in cycle times and even loss of goods from temperature excursions or delays. Plus, they are paying premium spot prices to prevent further losses. If this is not yet happening to your supply chains, it will be. Unless we rethink and change the approach with key service providers, both 3PL’s and their carriers and handlers, the robustness and resilience of the network may be jeopardized. Having  lived through the nine-eleven tragedy, we must  properly reengage and secure multi-tiered service agreements with bidirectional transparency and mutual gain outcomes with our key supplier base. Also, a much better balancing of cost and service essentials can yield dynamic layered options for Strategic Partners.

In closing, I truly look forward to all your comments and suggestions for this Blog and stay tuned for many more to come on a frequent basis. Future topics include:

  • Temperature Management Challenges during Disruptive Times
  • Sourcing Strategies and Tactics during Volatile Periods
  • Resiliency Practices and Proactive Measures
  • Top Service Provider practices to support BioPharma now.
  • Advantages realized by deeper Supply Chain Visibility