Fall Forum Recap: Adventures in Supply Chain Innovation

Improving Supply Chain Management has rapidly risen to the top of the enterprise agenda – with innovation at the core of the discussion.  But what does Supply Chain Innovation mean? What does it take to succeed? And how do innovative supply chains develop and sustain?

In December, TayganPoint hosted its bi-annual Forum and panel discussion to explore the best practices of top performing supply chain organizations in a landscape of product diversification, logistical complexity, economic globalization, and the rapid rise of technology.

Joy Taylor, CEO of TayganPoint moderated the panel with top pharma executives:  Natalie Gerdt Lotier, Vice President and Head of Established Brand Operations from Bristol-Myers Squibb; Emily Chu, Vice President of Consumer Supply Chain, Information Management with Johnson & Johnson, and Cameron Barrett, Senior Vice President, Global Supply Chain Management from CSL Behring.

As the Forum took place the same day as the CVS and Aetna deal closed, it’s not surprising that discussions quickly turned to what happens when people, process, and systems meet innovation. And what landmark changes the convergence of speed and consumer will mean for the future of healthcare.

But what about innovation in supply chain – how does that materialize? Natalie, feels that for most people in the life sciences industry supply chain innovation means a relentless effort to get drugs to the patient better, faster, and cheaper. And Cameron agreed, it’s putting patients at the center, and innovating each day. And it’s also about transformation – how do we use end to end processes to streamline as supply chain is the bridge across the organization. The panel agreed that to have the greatest impact you have to creatively leverage what’s already happening in supply chain.

Preparation

Between the wildfires in California and the Atlantic hurricane season, supply chain leaders have learned how to creatively address some of their greatest challenges.  Panelists focused specifically on the devastation of Hurricane Maria, and the end-to-end infrastructure that broke down in its wake. They learned that you can never be prepared enough and how important it is to work cross functionally. In the end, panelists said they analyzed what they could have done differently and how they could have reacted faster. In the particular instance of Hurricane Maria, first response was first and foremost to find your teams.

Once teams were located and the recovery began, the big question was where will we ship our product from, and where will we store it? Everything had been destroyed. And interestingly, it took this world event to see major pharma companies truly collaborate. Natalie commented that if pharma could collaborate more, it could really change business continuity for the better and enable serving patients at a new level.

Transparency

The group agreed that moving forward as world events continue to challenge the process, companies have to be transparent with teams on what they have prioritized to invest in so that when there is a world event, the shock value is low and teams are better prepared. “You can’t fix everything,” said Natalie. She also commented that “tabletop exercises will be taken more seriously. When the reality of Maria hit and tankers were immobilized and we didn’t know where our people were for four weeks-that’s something that doesn’t seem realistic but it happened and we didn’t expect it.”

Standardization

Next on the agenda was the ever-challenging need to standardize end-to end-processes and where it makes sense to do this globally. As Cameron pointed out, everyone in the organization wants something but if you allow the end-to-end process to deviate, you lose. “You have to help people understand where they play an important part, and changing the way people do business is harder than impacting local processes with global practices. Your global groups may drive standardization, but it’s the local teams must implement it.”

Given the influence the supply chain has in driving the success of organizations, the role of the supply chain leader is more important than ever.  In many respects, it can be argued that future supply chain leaders will become one and the same as the chief executive officer of the organization. Today’s supply chain leaders need big-picture enterprise thinking to oversee all aspects of the business of their organizations. And in pharma, even more learning must be done on sustaining business while prioritizing patients.

Big Data

The panel agreed that in today’s highly competitive marketplace, it’s imperative for businesses to innovate as they embrace new ways to streamline their supply chain and optimize productivity. With the aid of modern technologies, companies can create greater visibility within the supply chain, providing more control and opportunity to stay ahead of the competition. But, how do companies leverage this data?

In pharma, data growth is generated from several sources, including the R&D process itself, not to mention retailers, patients, and caregivers. Effectively utilizing these data points will help pharmaceutical companies better identify new potential drug candidates and develop them into effective, approved and reimbursed medicines more quickly. Natalie commented about using data for scenario modeling. “Using real world data in clinical trials will be so much more efficient.”

Talent Management

Talent and diversity in pharma was another theme of the evening. Not just in terms of gender but rather skill-sets. The use of blockchain in the supply chain has the potential to improve transparency and traceability as well as reduce administrative costs. And although blockchain and AI will eliminate some jobs, the jobs that will remain will be very high-touch and require companies to seek out a talent pool with an elevated skillset.

Additional Food for Thought

The panel concluded with panelists sharing what keeps them up at night. Answers were similar and centered around four key themes:

  1. How do we ensure a resilient operation in the global business model where we not only need to focus on the health of our companies, but also the world economy and social and political dynamics?
  2. How do we ensure the appropriate level of quality, agility and customer service level in the ever extended supply chain model with many external suppliers involved?
  3. How do we manage the increasing challenges around cyber breaches – not only within our own company but also with our suppliers?
  4. How can we best utilize all of the real-world data, gathered as a result of clinical trials, to benefit the patient?

For more information about the content discussed during the forum or to learn more about our Supply Chain solutions, please feel free to contact us.
Joy Taylor | CEO & Co-Founder | TayganPoint Consulting Group | jtaylor@tayganpoint.com
John Cassimatis | President & Co-Founder | TayganPoint Consulting Group | jcassimatis@tayganpoint.com

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