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How to be a supplier of choice


Former Chief Procurement Officer – Novartis Pharmaceuticals, Basel, Switzerland


The Pharmaceutical market has changed dramatically over the past years. This implies that suppliers striving to serve this industry whether they are CROs or CMOs need also to change. Almost all firms evaluate suppliers according to importance, which takes into consideration Risk of Supply as well as the Value of the relationship. Understanding this hierarchy allows companies to manage many supplier relationships with varying degrees of resources and to understand those relationships that are most important. At the highest level of importance, Suppliers and Buyers must make equal commitments in strategy alignment, collaboration and access to innovation. However, even this is not enough in today’s world. A new definition of supplier is emerging that requires greater levels of supply chain integration as well as the need to provide more comprehensive solutions to buying companies thus moving beyond the concept of providing discreet services or goods towards providing supply chain solutions.

The question of how to be the best supplier to Pharmaceutical Industry is not a simple one. Whether the supplier is in Clinical Services, Manufacturing, Packaging Services, or any of the other branches in the CMO/CRO world, or even a provider of business services, the question involves individual company and marketing requirements equally as well the objectives, needs and expectations of the buying company. In addition, we must respect that the Pharma market has changed radically in the last years and continues to evolve. This has had a significant impact on the expectations of any supplier, and in particular on the overall value proposition represented by that supplier. Rightly said, this article should be titled What does it take to be a Supplier of Choice in a Changing World?

We are well aware of the changing times in our industry. Ageing populations, Lifestyles that have become more sedentary with those ageing populations, emerging markets, patent expirations and advances in technology and treatments have all radically shifted how and to whom products are ultimately provided. Regulation and market controls have also impacted how the development of global markets will ...

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