Another missed delivery, poor communication, worrying investor statements, a quality concern; and yet the change control required to bring onboard a new supplier can be very time consuming and frustrating. As the market becomes increasingly consolidated, developing that second supply source becomes very important and needs to be done in a timely manner.

Why not seek alternatives?

History has taught most procurement teams that the time taken to effect a change can be considerable. Finding and qualifying an alternative, getting prices, processing artworks, running trial products through production all take effort. The benefit of better pricing and service can seem small compensation then for a long process where a buyer might be blamed for all fault along the way.

What does a carton buyer need to know?

Any supply chain change in Pharmaceuticals must start with quality of product. Ensuring a new supplier can deliver to a consistently high standard is a must. Seeing this from the outside is difficult and needs at least a site audit and an inspection to be meaningful. Service levels drive the real cost of supply for packaging; miss one delivery and the impact of a ‘stock out’ on that part will be a multiple of the cost of the carton. Service levels have to be high. Price is, of course, a consideration both in terms of the unit price and how procurement might use a second supplier to benchmark market pricing, whilst ensuring security of supply in a consolidated market.

So is there an easier way?

Addressing the critical factors can be difficult with a poor supplier. Any client needs support in gathering the right assurances to approve a new supplier. Selecting a proactive, hungry and well organised potential partner can make this process much easier.
Ten years ago clients would survey potential suppliers at conferences, social events and at industry association meetings. Very few clients can now work like that and would benefit from suppliers making on-boarding straight forward.

Medica’s Rapid Assurance approach ensures a comprehensive, cost effective and timely sign off process

Medica has reviewed the quality audit client questionnaires and artwork processes of the past few years and devised a new approach. Rapid Assurance gives answers to quality, service and company background immediately. Medica shares performance indicators on service, quality data and company financials. Our open proactive process gives assurance within hours, not weeks.

‘’For some time we have worked with clients to take the burden of on-boarding away from them. Rapid Assurance is a much better service. We give new clients everything that is needed as soon as we have a pricing enquiry’’, Gerard Harford, Managing Director, Medica Packaging.
Increasing the ease of assessing a new supplier should lead to those with the best service and quality gaining share. Improved competitive pressures will drive Pharmaceutical packaging – attaining higher standards In the future.

To find out more about Medica Packaging, Rapid Assurance and to get a quote for your carton and leaflet requirements please contact us at

Originally published in Pharmafocus magazine September 2017

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