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Sharp enters TraceLink Network to become services “concierge”

By Alexandria Pešić , 09-Nov-2010

Sharp Corporation has joined the TraceLink Network to provide production visibility and serialisation services for life sciences customers.

By joining TraceLink’s collaborative supply network, Sharp will combine its traditional role of a contract packager with a new one of being a services “concierge” for small to mid-sized pharma companies, Shabbir Dahod, TraceLink CEO, told Outsourcing-Pharma.

According to Dahod, the addition of Sharp to the Network will help pharmaceutical, biopharmaceutical and over-the-counter customers and partners “get production plans finalised faster, improve on-time start, reduce planned schedule buffers, and react faster to unexpected exceptions.”

Sharp’s mission, he continued, is to “create customised solutions for customer’s unique needs,” in medical affairs, risk evaluation and mitigation strategies (REMs) and sales services, as well as the full range of capabilities offered by its sister company, United Drug.

“Our partnership with Sharp provides new capabilities both on the upstream outsourced packaging area as well as the downstream product track-and-trace area,” said Dahod, predicting, “our members will find this very beneficial.”

TraceLink and Sharp say that as from 2011, they will offer a full serialisation package, complete with track-and-trace capabilities and financial reconciliation support for returns and chargebacks. This service has been implemented in preparation for the 2015 pedigree and serialisation regulatory mandates in the US.

By supporting life sciences companies with such services, Dahod claims the collaborating firms will help customers “reduce overall production costs” by improving visibility and access to precise and timely data across the production cycle, and improve supply planning by “providing real-time monitoring of key performance indicators (KPIs), such as order cycle time and order accuracy.”

Aware that industry demand is on the rise for both packaging and serialisation services, Dahod said the overall level of outsourcing demand for pharmaceutical manufacturing and packaging has rapidly grown and will continue to do so.

Rising demand for specialty packaging capabilities

“The push towards specialty pharmaceuticals and targeted therapeutic classes has increased the demand for specialty packaging capabilities,” he said, arguing however, that despite expanding serialisation requirements, it is now “even harder [for companies] to cost-justify building the technical expertise and packaging capabilities internally.”

Describing the dilemma a company faces when deciding whether or not to outsource such services as a ‘vicious circle,’ he pointed out that without an information sharing infrastructure to support outsourcing packaging and serialisation operations, companies “can expect to eliminate many of their hopes for cost and efficiency gains.”

TraceLink has taken this concern into account, and used it to leverage its “integrate-once, interoperate with everyone” motto, the concept behind the which being to provide “seamless data exchange between a company and all of its supply network participants regardless of native data format,” said Dahod.

Once a firm joins the Network, he said “each company can connect as they desire and operate in their native data formats, yet receive real-time updates from each and every partner on the TraceLink Network,” said Dahod.

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