October 23, 2015

Snapshot: Recent Supply Chain Events in Life Sciences & Biotech Industries

Wayne Caccamo

We just prepared a report for Rx-360 leadership on potential supply chain disruption events over a recent three-and-one-half week period of time. The supply chain events were all detected and reported by our 24/7 EventWatch® global event monitoring and analysis service. I thought I would share some data we rolled up over this “snapshot” period of time. It sheds some light on the frequency and diversity of types of events that hit the life sciences and biotech global supply chains every day.

For those of you who are not familiar with Rx-360, it is a not-for-profit consortium led by volunteers from the Pharmaceutical and Biotech industry including both manufacturers and suppliers. The purpose is to enhance the security of the pharmaceutical supply chain and to assure the quality and authenticity of the products moving through the supply chain.

The EventWatch® team issued 53 potential life sciences and biotech industry-specific disruption event bulletins over a 24 day period starting on September 23 and ending on October 16. That’s a little over 2 (2.2) potential disruption events per day. All events included were determined to be relevant to life sciences and biotech from a supply chain business continuity perspective, although some clearly have a more direct impact.

Over that period, there were no events with a “severe” disruption potential. There was only one that was given a “high” disruption potential: Fire Reported at Braskem Plant in Sao Paulo Brazil (10/15/2015).  There were 32 “Moderate” and 20 “Low” potential impact events.

The 53 events could be categorized into 18 types. We actually track over 30 types and the 18 types could be broken out into more granular categories, but to simplify the discussion for the purposes of this blog post, the specific categories were as follows:


As you can see, Severe Weather Events and M&A/Splits were by far the most common events, followed by Labor Strikes and Factory Fires. The top 4 categories accounted for 62% of the events. The weather-related events can be expected to spike since this is “hurricane” season in many geographies. The plethora of mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures in the life sciences and biotech industry during this reporting period is noteworthy. We typically see factory fires and labor strikes (although to a lesser extent) to be a major source of disruptions across all industry supply chains. The rest of the event profile consists of a large number of event categories (14) with a small number of incidents (1 or 2).

The number and diversity of events makes it very difficult for companies to monitor on their own without a dedicated 24/7 team with access to all traditional and social media channels and the ability to track events reported in all major languages.

But, it’s not enough to just detect and monitor events. You need a process and analytic technology that connects the dots between events and the impact to your specific suppliers, sites, parts, and value-at-risk. This enables you to respond rapidly, mitigate further risk, minimize time-to-recovery, and even turn the threat into an opportunity to gain a competitive advantage.

Leading global brands and OEMs in the life sciences, including several Rx-360 member companies, high-tech, automotive, and other industries rely on the EventWatch® supply chain event monitoring service in combination with the Resilinc SCRM solution suite to maximize business continuity and gain a competitive edge.

Check out EventWatch global event monitoring and analysis services

Topics: eventwatch, supply chain event monitoring