This past spring at PMWS21, Uwe Buecheler of Boehringer Ingelheim gave a virtual keynote address on leading global supplies in times of high biologics demand both during and after the global pandemic. The whole presentation is well worth watching, but the overarching theme is that the biologics market is growing in leaps and bounds —in 35 years the value of commercially available products have gone from a rounding error on the pharmaceutical industry’s balance sheets to a half-trillion-dollar portfolio with no signs of slowing down— and every company working in this space needs to be organizing its global supply chain to be able to scale quickly, incorporate technologies that are still in the process of being invented, and above all offer flexibility and agility in the face of sudden change.

The pipeline of biologics is expected to double in the next ten years thanks to innovation all around the world. The challenge of preparing the pharmaceutical industry’s manufacturing and supply chain operations is constant, ongoing, and becoming larger with each passing quarter. How should senior leaders prepare?

Some questions to ask yourself and you and your business:

  • Can our existing facilities be expanded or modernized to suit the needs of our future product portfolio? Are there opportunities for new greenfield sites to be built along modular design philosophies that can be more easily adapted to as yet unknown production requirements?
  • What are the opportunities to optimize our global footprint so we are making our products where global supply chains are best positioned for distribution?
  • What can be automated to reduce workforce needs? How can we attract and retain the highly skilled workers we will need to grow, even as we invest in automation?
  • Are there lessons we can learn from the experience of the Automotive, Aerospace, and Consumer Packaged Goods industries who have already found solutions to creating and distributing a portfolio of products to a global marketplace?
  • How are we rethinking our supply chain risk models in light of our experience during COVID19?
  • Rapid expansion cannot come at the expense of quality. How do we remain patient-centric in an environment of rapid growth?

Geoff Micks
Head of Content & Research
Executive Platforms

Geoff joined the industry events business as a conference producer in 2010 after four years working in print media. He has researched, planned, organized, run, and contributed to more than a hundred events across North America and Europe for senior leaders, with special emphasis on the energy, mining, manufacturing, maintenance, supply chain, human resources, pharmaceutical, food and beverage, finance, and sustainability sectors. As part of his role as Head of Content & Research, Geoff hosts Executive Platforms’ bluEPrint Podcast series as well as a weekly blog focusing on issues relevant to Executive Platforms’ network of business leaders.

Geoff is the author of five works of historical fiction: Inca, Zulu, Beginning, Middle, and End. The New York Times and National Public Radio have interviewed him about his writing, and he wrote and narrated an animated short for Vice Media that appeared on HBO. He has a BA Honours with High Distinction from the University of Toronto specializing Journalism with a Double Minor in History and Classical Studies, as well as Diploma in Journalism from Centennial College.