Maintaining pharmaceutical raw material supply during a global pandemic
Articles Success Stories

Case Study: Maintaining pharmaceutical raw material supply during a global pandemic

Paul Power, Strategic Sourcing and Supply Chain Executive discusses how NCC builds flexibility and responsiveness into a supply chain, ensuring that the flow of pharmaceutical raw material continues during challenging times.

Like many in the pharmaceutical industry we are proud that we’ve been able to mobilise our expertise and contribute to the global response of the pandemic. Working closely with our customers we have developed supply chain solutions throughout the crisis.

There have been unique challenges that have arisen relating to sourcing and supplying chemicals during this period. Ensuring that these materials arrive at their destination on time, and in full, continues to be a significant challenge. There is no supply chain without product and as a result, this has placed procurement and logistic departments under considerable strain to ensure that the supply of raw materials continues without any interruption.

Complete sourcing and logistical partner

As a member of the sourcing and supply chain team at NCC – I have seen first-hand the chaos that the global pandemic, coupled with the intensifying shipping crisis, has caused across many long-established supply chains. NCC has focussed on working closely with our clients throughout this period and have proven it is possible to effectively operate in an extremely turbulent environment. The investment from both ourselves, our logistic partners and our clients have shown massive return in maintaining flexible and resilient supply chains that continued to operate without interruption and avoid downtime. The NCC approach has always been that we become a complete sourcing and logistical partner for our customers, becoming an extended part of our customers procurement and sourcing department. The key challenge this year was keeping our customers supported with continued access to essential materials, while also allowing them the required flexibility in their material requirements planning throughout the year. One example is outlined in the case study below.

The challenge

We approached our customer, a well-known global pharmaceutical company, in 2020 when they had difficulties in supplying their production plant with large quantities of raw materials. Their plant output consistently responds and adapts to the requirements of the market. Several products are manufactured on site and following monthly sales and operation planning meetings, campaigns can change significantly. The main challenge was to ensure that there were always raw materials available to keep production running without any downtime but also accommodate a pivot in client strategy.

Our approach

We addressed the requirements of our customer by ensuring that a managed quantity of safety stock was always available. This means that raw materials were available on call when required by our customer, with NCC managing all touch points until delivery. The key objective was to allow the customer’s supply chain to adapt to new market challenges without any delays to production. Safety stock reports were issued regularly to the customer, highlighting each material we had in stock, its quantity, or any material in transit and its current location. We also provided market information on each material supplied and took time to discuss if the strategy needed to be tweaked to keep risk to a minimum each month based on emerging information.  This allowed the customer to know clearly what changes NCC could accommodate for them at any moment in time without the need to make specific inquiries, while also maintaining a dynamic response to the changing supply chain situation.


The result of our approach has meant that our customer has received all pharmaceutical raw material on time and in full throughout the entirety of 2021, with as little as twenty-four hours’ notice required for volumes up to seventy-two metric tonnes. This has meant that there has been no production down time at any stage.

Expertly managed end-to-end supply chain solutions

With over 50 years of experience, we provide our customers with end-to-end supply chain solutions. Regardless if raw materials are sourced locally or globally, our goal is to provide full management and traceability of supply at every stage. Ensuring that the flow of pharmaceutical raw material continues without interruption. There is no one size fits all solution, but through consistent and open collaboration – NCC will optimise the efficiency of your supply chain, saving your organisation time, money, and resources. For more information simply fill out the form below and we’ll be in contact.

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