The global impact of the virus is shaking nearly every business around the world. The drug development industry is no exception. If suppliers and manufacturers cannot overcome the challenges and keep needed materials and solutions moving, delivery of potentially life-saving products could be delayed.
Outsourcing-Pharma (OSP) spoke with Alex Bunting (AB), I Holland’s marketing manager, about the unique obstacles the pandemic is putting in front of pharmaceutical companies, as well as how his company is working to overcome them.
OSP: What are some of the most commonly expressed concerns your customers have had in the weeks since COVID-19 first arose?
AB: Perhaps the biggest concerns include the effect on lead times and if we can source material to manufacture the tooling. I can assure our customers that we are currently operating as normal with regular lead times and our capacity thus far has not been affected during the crisis.
International shipping remains largely normal and because I Holland maintains its Known Consignor status, we are able to fast track our goods through airport security allowing for 24/48 hour delivery in most cases.
Due to the nature of our product and ease of handling, we have a wide variety of shipping options. This means we will always do our best to meet all delivery deadlines and expectations.
With supply chain diversity and long-established relationships with our key suppliers, we are confident that we can maintain supply robustness and we will continue to work closely with them to guarantee surety of supply.
We also hold considerable stocks of raw material used for manufacturing tablet tooling and these are secured for many months to come.
OSP: Could you tell us about some of the steps you’re taking to protect the safety of your workers?
AB: The safety and well-being of our staff and their families is of the upmost priority to us. I Holland is making decisions based on the most recent information provided by the Government, PHE, NHS and WHO guidelines to ensure the safety of our workforce.
Those employees who can work remotely are doing so to stop non-essential travel and maintain self-distancing restrictions. Some employees like our team of skilled engineers are unable to perform work from home, however we have taken additional precautions to ensure their safety. This includes implementing maximum possible distancing, relocating workstations across buildings, operating split shifts and flexible working patterns as well as ensuring all staff follow the guidelines on hand cleanliness.
We have also employed extra cleaning regimes to ensure the highest possible cleanliness procedures are used at all times.
OSP: Similarly, could you tell us steps you’re taking to protect the safety/integrity of your products and customers?
AB: The I Holland supply chain is in good shape as we have a diverse network of suppliers and high levels of stock at our manufacturing facility in the UK.
I Holland continually monitors the supply chain for issues that may impact our operations, working closely with our suppliers to assess and minimize any potential effect. The assurance of materials will help to protect our manufacturing processes and allow products to be produced on time.
To protect our customers and staff we have restricted access to visitors whenever possible and will not accept any site visitors that have been outside the UK visiting high-risk Category 1 areas.
I Holland has an extensive customer support network and technical agents stretching across the world. With a variety of communication options including telephone, email, Microsoft Teams and Skype, we are ready and waiting to help customers in any way required.
We are also helping companies improve the skills of their staff through the use of the I Holland online training system to help improve their knowledge in areas of tablet compression tooling. We are offering this free of charge during this time.
OSP: You mentioned you’ve got months of stock in store. How are you working to ensure you maintain adequate supplies and materials?
AB: I Holland has contacted, and will keep in constant communication, with key suppliers to understand their own contingency plans and ensure they are a capable of meeting our needs. By ensuring our supplies are continuing to be delivered we can safeguard stock levels and continue to support our customers during the evolving situation with COVID-19.
OSP: You’re using freight to help keep shipping up—have you made any changes to logistics in recent weeks, or are you looking at any future plans/contingencies to ensure things keep running smoothly?
AB: As a global company we have a number of shipping methods to ensure delivery routes are maintained. We will continue to monitor the situation in order to implement necessary actions if required to maintain continuity of supply and ensure delivery runs smoothly.