Justin Robinson, marketing and business development manager at the company, told Outsourcing-Pharma that while maintaining the supply chain of vital treatments is challenging enough in normal times, difficulties presented by the global pandemic make the process even more difficult.
His company and clients, though, have looked at ways to balance a need to continue operation with protecting personnel during the crisis.
“Like us, most of our clients have instigated social distancing as much as possible in the workplace and this has reduced their capacity for work so they have been outsourcing more than usual. Some companies have additional work as they research new products to treat the Covid-19 symptoms and vaccines, so they have the double whammy of fewer staff available at any time and increased workload,” he said.
Additionally, Robinson explained, numerous customers have requested Butterworth Labs complete Covid-19 risk assessments. These typically address concerns like reliability of the supply chain for laboratory consumables, contingencies for potential staff illness, and preparation for any potential stricter lockdown.
“These are all issues that our leadership team have addressed and mitigated as best as possible,” he added.
Actions taken by Butterworth Labs include:
- Closing their administration site, located in Hampton, and permitting staff to work from home.
- Analysts required to maintain laboratory operations will work in a shift pattern reducing the number of staff onsite at once, allowing for better social distancing.
- Implementing cross training of laboratory staff for greater staffing flexibility.
- Exchanging face-to-face meetings for video conferences.
“If the current situation changes we may need to revise these plans, but at present our new operations are running smoothly and uninterrupted. In fact, we even have some spare capacity at present, however, as a laboratory proving key services to the pharmaceutical industry we may need to prioritize new work to ensure the manufacture and release of critical drugs,” Robinson added.
Robinson also told us that Butterworth Labs is shoring up its own supply by storing additional stocks of consumables where appropriate, and continuing to use a diverse range of suppliers.