Who knew clinical trial logistics had so much in common with the automotive and high-tech industries? That certainly seems to be the case with trends like just-in-time (JIT), customer-managed inventory (CMI) and vendor-managed inventory (VMI). All of these initiatives came to the clinical trial logistics market as ideas proven in other, seemingly unrelated industries.
The growing prominence of these initiatives in the clinical trial market points to two key trends in pharmaceutical development: first, that clinical research is increasingly a global proposition that requires a departure from traditional supply strategies; and second, that supply chain flexibility is more essential today than ever.
With manufacturers reining in costs worldwide, supply chain innovation is essential to maximizing investments. Just-in-time tactics—such as pooling agnostic supplies and just-in-time labelling—work in concert with multi-language labelling, interactive response technologies (IRT) and multi-study packaging to generate greater efficiencies.
The use of clinical trial depots has risen in popularity as well, with shippers valuing the ability to import bulk quantities of materials with a single clearance. This results in reduced paperwork and lower transport costs. In some cases the use of a depot is required by local regulations.