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Outsourcing pharma services for a collaborative future

Outsourcing pharma processes is in some cases the key to optimizing efficiency. As the demand for more efficient and compliant practices grows, pharmaceutical companies are looking into building stronger networks. 

The year 2020 has posed many challenges for the pharmaceutical industry. According to a report by the consultancy group McKinsey, pharmaceutical companies have demonstrated strong organisational resilience in the COVID-19 crisis. 

As companies are trying to keep up the production of key drugs in uncertain circumstances, it is crucial that the operations must run as smoothly as possible. Strong supply chains have become more important than ever. 

“Uninterrupted service is critical”, emphasises Taru Jokinen, Director of Service Management at Lindström. Lindström provides cleanroom services and basic workwear for the pharmaceutical industry in Finland, India, and China. In addition to the previously mentioned countries, the pharmaceutical industry is also in focus in Türkiye and Slovenia. “The role of the garment is as important as the raw material for the medicine. If it’s not there, the entire manufacturing process stops.” 

Outsourcing pharma services means there’s less to worry about 

“When companies are looking into outsourcing services, their main concerns are compliance and data integrity,” explains Jokinen. “The pharmaceutical industry is one of the most regulated industries in the world. Keeping up with the requirements takes up time and resources.” 

“For a company, outsourcing pharma procedures to a dedicated and reliable partner is an asset. The partner can follow the field and proactively develop processes accordingly.

The industry-wide Current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) ensure that product manufacturing and controls align with quality standards. For garments, this means that all items must be accounted for at all times. 

“We need to be able to view and validate the entire life cycle of the garment. At Lindström, we use smart digital technology to provide companies with an item-level audit trail. The data shows us how long the garment has been in use. Also when and where in our service cycle it has been scanned,” Jokinen explains. 

However, the data accumulated by the process is used for more than compliance purposes. When it’s crunched and analysed, it tells both Lindström and the customer a great deal about the flow of the products. It provides clues on how to optimise the process. 

“The main thing is that the customer has one less thing to worry about. They can focus on their core business and be assured that there’s always the right amount of clean, hygienic, and safe garments to use.” 

Towards an efficient and collaborative future 

According to the McKinsey report, pharma’s future – as well as the way into the post-COVID world – is all about making the most of new technology and building networks. 

“To navigate uncertain times and cope with changing requirements, you need ecosystem thinking,” asserts Jokinen. “As the requirements become more stringent on all fronts and across all industries, no one has the resources to take care of everything alone.” 

“When you need to do things more efficiently and sustainably, it’s clear that you won’t make it happen all alone. You need to, as we say in Finnish, ‘lyödä viisaat päät yhteen’, which means ‘put smart heads together’. With this as your aim, finding the right partner is key.” 

Lindström Group