Amidst these conditions, we explore how contract-service providers can achieve competitive advantage by looking at the drivers
that influence customers' perceptions of contract-service providers overall and in certain segments (see "Customer Drivers Influencing Supplier Differentiation").
As the level and complexity of outsourcing increases, bio/pharmaceutical companies speak about how project management is
a valued competency of a contract-service provider not only in meeting its obligations, but also in working with other service
providers. To illustrate, we offer a case study of a cross-functional supplier integration model (see "Achieving Cross-Functional Supplier Integration: A Case-Study Analysis").
Part of the task in developing a sustainable competitive advantage is to understand not only what customers value now, but
what they will in the future. As bio/pharmaceutical companies begin to adapt quality by design (QbD) in their drug-development
and manufacturing efforts, will competency in QbD become equally important for contract-service providers? We gain perspectives
from both sides of this issue. Senior executives from Pfizer offer insight on the company's experience with QbD (see "A Pharma Manufacturer’s View of Quality by Design"), and an industry roundtable of technology and contract-service providers share their views on the influence of QbD on the
outsourced relationship (see "Evaluating QbD's Impact on the Outsourced Relationship").
Also in this issue, Avantor shares its experience in a pilot of the shared audit process of Rx–360, the international pharmaceutical
supply-chain consortium (see "Rx-360 Completes Pilot Audit of Manufacturing Facility: An Industry Case Study from Avantor"). We also share best practices in collaborative planning (see "Outsourced Manufacturing Operations") and technology transfer (see "Managing Technology Transfer: Developing a Complete CMC Package for an In-Licensed Product").
Patricia Van Anrum is a senior editor of Pharmaceutical Technology,
and a co-editor of this special issue.
1. M.E. Porter, Competitive Advantage: Creating and Sustaining Superior Performance (Free Press, 1st ed., New York, 1985).
2. M.E. Porter, Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors (Free Press, 1st ed., New York, 1980).