Business agility is often the difference between sink or swim for a company experiencing change. Turbulent times can shift market trends and customer demands, creating a plethora of internal and external challenges that weigh down a company not poised to react. For Woodley Trial Solutions, and many companies like it, both the COVID-19 pandemic and Brexit threatened operations like never before. But our team was ready, and quickly turned logistical migraines into a commercial success that has helped our business to not only tread water through the thick of it, but to come out with guns blazing on the other side, adding further value to our growing customer base.
A LOGISTICAL PUZZLE
In a business like ours – with a million moving parts – any logistical issues tumble down the line like a row of dominoes before reaching the customer. This can translate to delayed or lost orders, unhappy customers and, if not corrected in a timely manner, loss of business. Supplying clinical trials with equipment during a pandemic proved a challenging task, and one where we had to stay focused to ensure deadlines were hit and patient visits continued. Add the unknowns of Brexit to the mix, and a perfect storm was brewing to test our business ethos. However, through creative logistical planning and clear decision making, we were able to navigate these issues and find a clear path forward that aligned with our customers’ needs.
FINDING THE PIECES TO FIT A NEW MODEL
We found a solution via a new agreement with a third-party contractor strategically located in the Netherlands. Initially, this allowed our key services to continue, and now we use the company as our chief European distributor, which has bolstered our supply chain and – with a base on EU soil – has completely resolved any potential Brexit issues. This agile partnership has helped us to dig deep into the intricate details of the entire supply chain, so that we can guarantee the same delivery time we could pre-Brexit and, in some cases, even quicker, in as little as two days if the equipment is stored in the EU. This unique venture came to fruition in just three months and has turned into a watertight solution to fully enrich our supply chain, ensuring crucial product shipments arrive on schedule to maintain client satisfaction.
A SUPPLEMENTAL SERVICE IS BORN
What started as a prime example of out-of-the-box thinking has turned into an important service extension, which is now proving vital to our clients who were having similar logistical problems. Using our third party’s Dutch facility – which is regulated to ISO 9001 standards – we can safely store and send ancillary equipment and medical devices on behalf of our customers, with guaranteed delivery times and regularly halving the lead times quoted by their carriers. What started as an internal problem led to a solution that has grown beyond our expectations.
TO INFINITY AND...WELL, AT LEAST GLOBALLY
Our team has mastered a new logistical landscape that perfectly fits the post-Brexit and post-pandemic world, and now has the flexibility to bend our operations to solve unforeseen issues. New partnerships have not only given us a foot on EU soil, but also a more robust solution to our global supply chain, with the agility to offer a tailored solution to all our customers.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ryan Catterall joined Woodley Trial Solutions in 2019, and such has been his contribution and ability to problem solve, he was promoted to Logistics Manager earlier in 2021. Since finishing education, Ryan’s backgrounds has always been in Logistics, 2021 marking his 15th year in the industry. Prior to joining Woodley Trial Solutions, Ryan demonstrated his logistical expertise in the aviation and medical industries. His hard-working and good-natured attitude make him a highly respected colleague to all at Woodley Trial Solutions.
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