In this article we are going to review the 3 most common Cell and Gene Therapy (CGT) supply chain management solutions. Including; manual/spreadsheet trackers, custom built solutions, and cellular orchestration platforms. We’re also going to explore CGT Supply Chain Management and why is it important.
- What is CGT Supply Chain Management?
- The Most Common CGT Supply Chain Management Solutions
- Manual Supply Chain Management for CGT
- Custom Built CGT Solutions
- Cellular Orchestration Platform
- Which Solution is Right for my Therapies?
What is Supply CGT Chain Management?
In CGT, a supply chain refers to the complex network of activities involved in the delivery of advanced therapies to patients. Managing the process is critical to ensuring the successful treatments can be delivered to the correct patient. Effective healthcare supply chain management is essential to improving patient outcomes, reducing costs, and enhancing operational efficiency.
CGT supply chain management involves managing the flow of information and goods between all stakeholders including manufacturing, logistics, and patient care. Alongside this, a full audit trail is needed to demonstrate compliance and ensure patient safety.
CGT often involves personalized medicines where each patient supply chain must be individually tracked. Therefore, it is essential this is managed carefully. A common starting place, is paper records or spreadsheets. However, as therapies scale-up towards commercialization, those methods might not be able to meet the demands or required expectation.
The Most Common CGT Supply Chain Management Solutions
As mentioned above, you may already be familiar with a form of supply chain management – even if it is a spreadsheet. However, there are options available that may be better suited to the needs of your therapies and long term objectives. Below, we’ll review some of the available solutions from excel spreadsheets to more advanced supply chain management software.
Manual Supply Chain Management for CGT
Manual tracking is a starting point for many early developers, it is cheap to set up and can be easily changed moving forward. These systems may even have some degree of change tracking, reporting and have the ability to conduct a basic search. Furthermore, they may be systems that the team are already familiar with, therefore the need for training reduces.
These methods may be manageable for small, close-knit teams and low patient numbers, but they are hard to scale compliantly. For example, records can be easily changed and/or deleted, and can quickly reach a point where multiple ‘versions’ of the same information exist.
These methods also rely on proactive, manual updates, where automated systems pull information from integrated systems automatically. When looking at a manual system, risk, administrative costs and the cost of errors and fault investigation must be carefully considered.
Custom Built CGT Solutions
These can seem incredibly attractive as they are designed 100% for your therapy and company. They will take into consideration your current systems, structure, and architecture (if well scoped) and build onto these directly. It is also a system that the commissioning company has control and ownership of, but unless it is being built in-house, will rely on a third party to maintain.
These systems can work well for extremely customized processes, they can be costly to develop, maintain (as this cost rests solely on you), and adapt. Typically, a mature orchestration system will have been built to accommodate many different needs and processes and many different partner systems.
Custom solutions rely on accurate planning at the build stage to ensure they don’t ‘box you into’ inflexible processes. Platforms built to accommodate many different needs may already have an accessible solution for the unexpected e.g. a new therapy class.
Cellular Orchestration Platforms (COP)
A cellular orchestration platform is a software system designed to efficiently and effectively coordinate complex CGT supply chains. They vary in technology, capability, infrastructure and maturity. However, the most critical thing is choosing a platform that can support your therapy and organizational structure short and long term.
Consider your existing supply chain eco-system including proprietary IT systems and processes and incumbent suppliers. The capabilities of these will impact how a COP will integrate initially, as much as the COP itself. Other key factors to consider are user experience and support as these will impact adoption and training burden down the line.
Look for a COP with clear consideration of supporting changes to process as well as users in the long-term. Review available customer support and training packages and resources as a key consideration alongside functions and features. Product development roadmaps with an established and planned partner eco-systems are also things to review when choosing a system. All these elements are equally as important as the product’s capability for a long-term and successful deployment.
Which Solution is Right for my Therapies?
This depends on many factors, including your specific requirements, budget and timeframe. However, it is important to not only assess your current needs, but also your future plans and projections.
We hope this has better explained what supply chain management is and why it is important. If you are looking to automate your CGT supply chain, read our supply chain automation article. Alternatively, fill in a contact form to arrange a free demonstration of our Cellular Orchestration Platform; OCELLOS.
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Article by TrakCel Marketing Team - 12 May 2023