Example of key clinical document bindersComplexity, scale, and lingering supply chain issues are impacting supply chain managers who are working to provide clinical research sites with ancillary trial supplies and equipment.

These supply chain managers not only have to ensure that the requested supplies are sourced correctly but also, that they are delivered to the sites in advance of scheduled site initiation visits (SIVs). They are also having to navigate the logistics required for studies across multiple geographic regions while tracking these materials and their expiration dates. Finally, supply chain managers must remain attuned to the ever-changing regulations associated with clinical trials.

Skilled supply chain managers are adept at navigating through these many issues and become critical contributors to the ultimate success of your clinical trials.

So, who do you choose?

An extensive due diligence effort will ensure success in identifying vendors that align with needs and culture. Once selected, these vendors become indispensable members of the clinical team. The ideal vendor not only ensures timely/successful delivery but also contains the associated costs.

As an adjunct member of the clinical team, your vendor must be made aware of any/all changes to the study timeline. Not doing so can have many negative downstream effects. Additionally, the ideal supply chain manager will assist the clinical team in understanding the unique requirements (i.e., import licenses) associated with ordering materials for the participating clinical research sites (NOTE: for global trials, multi-lingual Customer service/technical support should be a consideration).

Additional considerations for ensuring a successful partnership between your supply chain manager and the clinical team:

  • Plan, plan, plan
    • ensure that there is adequate time to source and optimize your supply chain strategy have a clear understanding of the country-specific regulations and import licenses to avoid any delays
  • Communicate
    • enact a communication strategy to ensure that all stakeholders are aware of any/all changes in the trial
  • Clinical Trial Management System (CTMS)
    • utilize existing technology to manage the inventory of supplies at participating clinical research sites
  • Thoroughly track all paperwork and their expiration dates, as relevant (i.e., import licenses)
  • Enact a plan for the safe return/disposal of supplies at the conclusion of the trial

Managing logistics on a global basis with a carefully vetted and capable vendor will contribute to your trial’s success and ensure that patients are receiving the treatments/cures that they need, thereby improving global health.