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How to harness the follow-the-sun model in your FSP engagement

Round-the-clock operations harness the power of global expertise and optimize resource allocation in clinical development and post-marketing surveillance.

Clinical trial outsourcing models

Drug developers using functional service partnerships (FSPs) are taking an increasing interest in the follow-the-sun business model to optimize operations, transitioning work across global locations as the sun rises and sets. Using a follow-the-sun approach as part of an FSP relationship enables sponsors to better respond to dynamic changes by providing access to specific expertise and global capabilities that scale to meet needs and timelines.

A follow-the-sun model offers several advantages, but it takes specialized expertise to implement and operationalize for clinical development and post-marketing surveillance. Here, we’ll review challenges and opportunities, noting the steps involved for sponsors to take advantage of what follow-the-sun has to offer.

Navigating the Intricacies of the Follow-the-Sun Model in Clinical Research

The implementation of a follow-the-sun model, which leverages global resources in different time zones to assure continuous operations, requires a thoughtful approach to cultures, communication and collaboration for effective results.

A well-qualified FSP partner will be equipped with a range of proven practices to address these considerations, such as:

  • Connecting teams located across the globe with the latest virtual platforms and tools
  • Providing standardized training to make sure everyone knows how to do their part and how to succeed together across cultures
  • Establishing processes, policies and standards at the beginning of FSP engagements to ensure quality, security and compliance
  • Leveraging a global recruiting and training infrastructure to tap into the best internal and external talent, and focus on ongoing training and development
Talent, Training, Tools and Technology
Communication and CoordinationEffective coordination and communication among teams located in various parts of the world becomes crucial to maintain workflow consistency. This can be accomplished through:
• An agile, proactive mindset in the talent assigned to the model, paired with leveraging instant, self-serve technology on top.
• Dedicated leadership roles that are responsible for efficient program execution and partner satisfaction, and smoothly transitioning through each phase of the FSP partnership, from project launch to steady state.
Data Security and ComplianceEnsuring data security and compliance with regional and country-specific regulations means that sensitive customer information or proprietary data must be securely accessed across multiple regions. Rigorous data security measures are essential.
Quality and Risk ManagementStable, robust processes and systems, combined with proactive risk management and contingency plans, optimize consistency and delivery in a remote environment.
Recruitment, Onboarding and TrainingA holistic, global, standardized approach to recruitment, onboarding and training in diverse team cultures is needed to guarantee that all team members have the same training and opportunities and can perform the same role, no matter the location.
Cultural NavigationUsing remote technologies and embracing cultures around the globe are two critical factors for instilling a sense of unity and shared purpose within teams.

How to Seize the Opportunities of the Follow-the-Sun Model in FSPs

Increased responsiveness and efficiency

With the right FSP partner, a follow-the-sun model enables organizations to provide continuous support and responsiveness to customers and stakeholders regardless of the time or location. Teams stationed globally are able to address questions, technical issues and emergencies as soon as they arise.

Examples include:

  • Minimizing the risk of bottlenecks or delays caused by limited work hours. Tasks seamlessly transition from one team’s shift to another in a different location, ensuring a continuous flow of work. This results in faster project completion times, shorter response times for solutions to complex needs and improved business continuity.
  • Clinical research and post-marketing surveillance involves ongoing data analysis and interpretation. Teams operating in different time zones can analyze data collected from various regions in real-time, enabling faster decision-making and adjustments to trial protocols.
  • Clinical trials often engage patients located in different global regions. With the follow-the-sun model, providers establish follow-up and monitoring processes that ensure patients receive timely attention, regardless of their geographical location, for an enhanced patient experience. This enhances patient safety and trial effectiveness.
  • The distributed nature of a follow-the-sun model provides built-in risk management by reducing the impact of disruptions in a single location. If one research or manufacturing site faces challenges such as natural disasters or political instability, other sites can maintain the process, ensuring business continuity.

Optimal resource allocation

By strategically locating different aspects of the business in different regions, organizations can tap into talent across all labor markets . This is especially valuable for tasks that don’t require physical presence and can be efficiently managed remotely, such as data entry, customer inquiries and most safety monitoring . By engaging skilled professionals in lower-cost regions, companies achieve cost savings while maintaining high-quality output.

With PPDTM Functional Service Partnership (FSP) solutions, our customers access multiple, highly trained teams performing professional round-the-clock work across multiple regions, including both traditional and non-footprint countries. Examples include:

  • Hubs across the globe to support local complexities and languages
  • Split shifts to maintain quality and a presence for client requirements
  • 24/7 coverage and shift work to manage high submission volumes
  • Agile solutions for changing client needs, as well as rapid response to client or agency deadlines

Rely on a Strong FSP Partner for Follow-the-Sun Success

There is no doubt that a follow-the-sun model offers numerous opportunities for organizations to enhance customer satisfaction, optimize resource allocation, improve operational efficiency and accelerate drug development. While challenges such as coordination, data security and cultural differences could exist, a partnership with a seasoned FSP provider enables organizations to successfully harness the advantages of this innovative business model, particularly in the biopharmaceutical industry.

PPD FSP solutions have supported nearly 300 clients, including nine out of 10 top pharma organizations, over the past five years. Backed by more than 25 years of FSP support for clinical and marketed products, we know what it takes to deliver customized solutions tailored to the unique needs of each client, providing much-needed resource flexibility, reliability and continuity to help clients meet their timelines. Our global FSP solutions provide the breadth and depth of therapeutic and functional expertise needed to facilitate successful product development for our partners, big and small, and help accelerate the next generation of life-changing therapies.

Ready to maximize your operational efficiency? Learn how PPD FSP solutions enable clients to meet their timelines.