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Just What is a Manufacturing Ecosystem and Why Are They Growing?

The Benefits and Challenges of Collaborative Manufacturing Partnerships Across Regulated Industries

Deloitte shows that a massive 88% of manufacturers agree it is important to work with outside partners and vendors to reach their smart manufacturing and digital goals. With supply chains becoming ever more complex, it’s clear to see that collaboration is at a defining moment across the manufacturing industry.

Bob Tilling, VP of Global Sales at Kallik, explains the value and challenges of developing a shared ecosystem, particularly across highly regulated markets such as pharmaceutical, food and beverage and consumer packaged goods (CPG), and how something so simple as accurate labelling plays a critical role in collaborative success.

A recent analysis of Fortune 500 manufacturers identified that companies with more than 15 strategic alliances as part of a manufacturing ecosystem registered twice the revenue growth, compared with companies with fewer than 15 alliances.

Deloitte sees an ecosystems approach as forming a core part of ‘smart manufacturing’ into the future. A manufacturing ecosystem can be simply defined as “different entities coming together in meaningful ways to solve shared challenges and meet shared objectives.”

Ecosystems and Partnerships Growing Across Pharma, Food and CPG

The manufacturing supply chain is already a complex network of companies and stakeholders, especially in highly regulated sectors such as pharmaceutical, food and beverage and consumer packaged goods. Any manufacturing process and supply chain becomes more complex and intricate when more than one manufacturing party is involved. For example, the Covid-19 vaccine needs to be supported by one of the most sophisticated supply chain ecosystems in the industry – due to there being over 40 Pfizer-owned sites and over 200 suppliers globally.

On the food and beverage side, take an international food and beverage organisation specialising in making and selling a variety of cheeses. The company, as part of its growth plans, has very probably acquired other well-known organisations owning many brands within the same sector. Consequently, the organisation will have grown in size and complexity, with potentially thousands of suppliers globally. Managing any such complex manufacturing ecosystem requires a structured system to enable accurate updates and changes to vital processes, and here’s where labelling has a crucial role to play. Ingredient formulations and label artwork must be shared with the right people in the ecosystem at the right time in a seamless and timely manner in order for the ecosystem to live up to its role of a collaborative partnership of organisations with shared goals.