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Life Sciences

The life science sector is in an intriguing state of change. Over the past 30-40 years numerous strategic decisions have been made in an attempt to stay ahead of the game, and respond to changing pressures in the industry. Organisations are at another crucial point where it is no longer good enough to try and improve the existing ways of working, but a complete re-think is needed to challenge the fundamental operating model. Innovative thinking towards R&D, supply chain, and customer service will be crucial in how companies re-define themselves in a very fast changing environment.

Crimson & Co understands the importance of aligning commercial and operational teams, with a clear focus on understanding trade-offs across the business. With this in mind, we believe supply chain directors should be challenging themselves in these areas:

Selected Life Science Assignments

Strategic sourcing

This organisation was created following the recent merger of four European pharmaceuticals companies (Italian, German, and two UK companies). There was a cost saving target of $4million from ‘indirect’ materials through targeted aggregation of demand across the companies via harmonised processes, specifications and suppliers. Crimson & Co was engaged to set up and manage the project from assessment to delivery of efficiencies.


  • Savings of $4.8m
  • Pan European contracts introduced
  • Common ways of working established
  • Robust savings measurement
  • Process efficiencies delivered

Clinical trials sourcing

The clinical research department of a leading pharmaceutical company contracted each clinical trial on a trial-by-trial basis with no procurement involvement. Processes differed between clinical leads for identifying and fulfilling requirements. There was no standard contract or approach. Crimson & Co led a strategic sourcing process to reduce cost whilst enabling longer-term arrangements with key providers.


  • Saving of >$2m on pilot trials
  • Global frameworks established
  • Excellent buy-in from clinical research
  • Standardised documents (RFI, RFP)
  • Menu pricing for key treatments

Temporary staff sourcing

This European pharmaceutical had 12 major agency suppliers (with spend greater than €100k), making up a total spend of €3.7m. Processes for identifying and fulfilling requirements differed across sites and sometimes across departments. Crimson & Co led a category team based approach, as part of a larger strategic sourcing project.


  • Saving of $500k (14%)
  • Single source European agreement
  • Excellent buy-in from HR across Europe
  • Standardised job roles and specifications
  • Free training and induction by supplier

European business transformation project

We transformed this client by: leading a rapid impact programme that successfully raised ‘on time in full’ service levels to customers from 8% to over 90% in six months; reducing lead times significantly through reduction in the planning timeframes; and, developing a strategy for their distribution infrastructure that provided better service levels at a lower operational cost.


  • The project achieved 91.6% OTIF within six months
  • Internal capabilities developed
  • Moved the business from monthly to weekly planning cycles
  • Significant lead time reductions, from 12 weeks average to 4-8 weeks
  • Five-year European logistics strategy developed with benefits of over £9m pa available