As we bend the curve on the pandemic, biopharma businesses have started to reevaluate relationships with print suppliers to determine what’s working and what's not. Supply chain disruptions have infiltrated nearly every industry over the last 18 months—and print was no exception.
"Unplanned supplier sourcing shifts resulted in gap identification by many organizations, where the print suppliers they traditionally worked with have either had to temporarily or permanently close their doors due to the pandemic impact," says Christine Salamondra, National Account Manager at FedEx Office.
Even as office culture adapts and some biopharma professionals continue to work remotely, the need for printed materials remains. But we’ve already seen that printing materials from a personal printer in your home office isn't the answer. To attract—and keep—the attention of doctors, patients, and payers, materials must look professional and be consistent with brand standards.
Aimee DiCicco, Senior Vice President, Revenue Operations and Product Development with FedEx Office, notes that as the U.S. continues to reopen, many businesses are building new relationships with reliable print and distribution providers. They've learned the importance of reaching vast audiences at the right place and time through printed signage, clinical trial recruitment pamphlets, documentation and training packets, branded marketing collateral, safety-related graphics, and other materials. These relationships help biopharma organizations focus more on their core business and less on print-related logistics.
"This pandemic has provided companies with a window to reassess their print operations, and it has also presented new opportunities on how to manage the printed communications process,' says DiCicco. "And that's true whether you are a small startup or a very large player in the space."
For biopharma businesses that are reconsidering communication strategies as they navigate the new normal, here are five lessons on what the pandemic has taught the industry about the power of print.
1. Speed matters.
Developing new therapeutics and vaccines means recruiting hundreds of thousands of clinical trial participants, along with physicians and distributors. Printed materials are needed to reach each segment of potential patients upon approval, as well as to inform the general public about the efficacy and safety of immunization and medications in order to get buy-in in a timely manner. Finding the right supplier is key to reaching health care providers, patients and payers, whether you’re sending direct mailings, pamphlets, kitted materials, signs or other collateral. "Faster speed to market is the ultimate goal of product development," says DiCicco.
DiCicco says customers choose FedEx Office because it has thousands of locations across the country for printing, supported by a robust logistics and transportation network. Plus, if last-minute changes are needed to materials—whether it's because of new input for a clinical trial, or changes made by a federal agency— those alterations can be made quickly from anywhere. "We can pivot quickly and be responsive without increasing cost significantly and in a way that reflects the brand consistently," says DiCicco.
2. Print reaches customers where they are.
In today's world, it's not a matter of "either/or" when it comes to digital and print. Print remains a tried-and-true vehicle for reaching a diverse audience—including people who lack access to online resources, and people who are overwhelmed by their overflowing email inbox.
"These days, with the overload of emails, text messages, and digital communication clutter, we're finding that people are responding more to printed materials, for example, getting vaccine information from posters in the waiting room," says Salamondra. Those printed materials may also include mailbox fliers, workplace and event signage, pamphlets, or other collateral that disrupts the digital clutter.
3. Supply chains are vulnerable.
As offices and labs shuttered across the country because of the pandemic, biopharma business leaders scrambled to find ways to stay connected to customers. Many struggled because they weren’t able to access in-office print technology. Others faced challenges when their local print vendor closed.
For DiCicco, one important lesson learned from the last year is that there's enormous value in selecting a provider that has a large footprint and is flexible and capable of scaling. "Having a national print provider, like FedEx Office, with the footprint that we have that can produce and distribute variations of that communication means less transit time. It means less work and logistics planning behind the scenes for the biopharma experts, and it gives a sense of reliability of being able to print and distribute across that supply chain in a way that helps bring innovative ideas forward more quickly and can help keep costs lower by reducing those transportation needs," she says.
4. Security is important.
Hackers are continually finding new and faster ways to access sensitive information. In recent weeks, both oil and meat producers had to contend with destructive cyberattacks. When choosing a printer, biopharma businesses need to seek out safe, secure, dependable systems.
For its part, FedEx Office works directly with its biopharma customers to understand their security requirements. "We develop custom workflows to manage their sensitive data," says Salamondra. Additionally, the company has secured production locations away from consumer access as an additional means to help protect customer information.
5. Investing in print equipment is best left to the experts.
Biopharma businesses "are looking to be the first to solve a problem," says Salamondra. While they're focusing on these essential priorities, print and logistics experts should be trusted to do the work they do best.
"Outsourcing printing to a supplier can mean quality, consistency, flexibility, and cost control," says DiCicco. "Your expertise, your time, and your investment should be in the core of your business, and no matter what size you are, leaning into the experts in those print communications spaces can really help you make the most of the output," she says.
"Whether you’re a large corporation or a startup, every dollar does count. And you want every dollar working for you in terms of the patients," says DiCicco. "We truly believe that in today's world, the idea that a corporation should be overly invested in printing equipment is just flat-out outdated."
To learn more about how FedEx Office can help your biopharma business, visit fedex.com/businesssolutions today.