Contract manufacturing organizations (CMOs) continue to expect a great deal more from their employees than they have in the past, results from BioPlan’s latest survey of 302 biomanufacturers and CMOs suggest. In fact, data from the “9th Annual Report and Survey of Biopharmaceutical Manufacturing Capacity and Production” indicates that, when compared to biotherapeutic developers, CMOs are far more prone to emphasize productivity measures specifically related to their staff.
From the survey, the top operational changes planned by CMOs this year due to recent global economic conditions center on productivity. In fact, 77.8% of CMOs said this year that they will be placing “somewhat greater” or “much greater” focus on this area. And while 63% will focus more on cost-cutting, that proportion is rivaled by those who will be focusing more on employee performance.
Biotherapeutic developers are in agreement when it comes to a greater focus on productivity this year, with 73.8% indicating they will be placing either somewhat or a much greater focus on this area (Figure). Beyond this top-line agreement, though, some keen differences emerge.
On the one hand, biodevelopers are more likely to be increasing their focus on cost-cutting (67.5% vs. 63%) and regulatory functions (45.6% vs. 33.3%). On the other, CMOs are more likely to cite a greater focus on employee performance (63% vs. 54.4%), an upswing in the number of production operations employees (51.9% vs. 30.6%), and increased emphasis on employee training (44.4% vs. 40.6%).
Partly because of the CMO business model, which allows pass-through expenses to their clients, when it comes to cutting costs, CMOs are less likely than biodevelopers to make changes in the hiring department (18.5% vs. 26.3%). They are also more likely to cut funds for manufacturing process improvements (22.2% vs. 18.1%) or for adoption of new technologies (18.5% vs. 14.4%). These results suggest that CMOs’ greater focus on productivity this year is tied to the expectations they have for their employees’ performance.
When comparing the data to last year, we find a general consistency in themes. An increased focus on productivity topped the list of changes for CMOs last year also (83.9%), while a greater focus on employee performance (71%) took the second ranking, ahead of an increased focus on cost-cutting (67.7%). Similar discrepancies existed between CMOs and biodevelopers when looking at the focus on employee performance, as with the number of production operations employees.