The overlooked factor in outsourcing

June 1, 2020
Finding the right employees is the lifeblood of successful CDMOs

Growing at an exceedingly rapid rate, contract development and manufacturing organizations (CDMOs) have become one of the most important assets in today’s pharmaceutical industry. With this prominence, CDMOs are facing increasing pressure to invest in additional resources. However, when considering growth and strategic investments, the square footage of facilities or investing in the best equipment alone will not generate the greatest success. CDMOs that let knowledge and human experience guide their decision-making should be prioritized by pharmaceutical companies looking for a contract services partner.

The human factor

In the contract manufacturing industry, the highest quality products and services result from complementary actions: equipping the right people with the best tools. Building a quality-focused culture is vital, and finding the right people is the lifeblood of successful CDMOs.

In the same way that organizations want to invest in highly adaptable systems and processes, pharmaceutical leaders should look to partner with agile, flexible people and insist on an environment of continuous learning across all levels and years of experience. Whether recent graduates or industry veterans, CDMOs should be committed to developing employees’ skills such as project management, critical thinking and leadership — enduring traits that translate into growth beyond the workplace. It’s also critical that CDMOs prioritize positivity and critical thinking, which go a long way in an industry where not every project or day works like clockwork.

In addition, it is important that CDMOs evaluate the people within their external partner organizations. Before working with a vendor, it is imperative for CDMOs to vet companies to determine compatibility, culture fit and level of trust, while also looking into their track record with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In the aseptic manufacturing space, this vetting process is particularly important because of the industry’s regulatory landscape. If your company is embarking on a facility expansion and/or investing in new technologies, an in-depth review process is crucial. Ultimately, the goal is to choose partners with respected reputations, the ability to work collaboratively and adaptably, and most importantly, with quality-focused cultures.

Putting it all together

Contract development and manufacturing companies should also acknowledge the interdependent relationship between employees and machines, which has increased at a time when there is a known skills gap caused by technological advancements. To help fill this gap, employers within the outsourced manufacturing industry should provide team members with continued technical training to effectively work with modern equipment. This includes providing on-the-job training for current employees to enhance their skills, and continually adjusting job requirements of technical positions.

As equipment and technology in the pharmaceutical industry moves towards automation, it is important to remember that critical thinking and integrity are human traits that are not easily replicated by advanced machinery. These traits are irreplaceable components of high-quality customer service and critically important components to the partnerships that exist within the pharmaceutical supply chain. The continued success of CDMOs heavily relies on the sophistication of technology and advancement of human skillsets. Pharmaceutical companies looking for the right contract services provider, or CDMOs searching for the right vendors, should recognize that the people they partner with are just as important as the technology and equipment in which they invest. 

About the Author

Jill Quillen | Senior Human Resources Manager