Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Most people know that I spend at least 60% of my time in the field with customers. For instance, this week I will be in the office on Monday and the rest of the week listening and working with customers to solve their problems. The source of all our innovation comes from customers. Many are fond of telling me when and where we thought of that specific feature or capability.
As I was reflecting on my past few weeks of fairly intense travel and interactions, it became clear to me that the pace, magnitude and criticality of change at our Pharma/Bio customers is accelerating. The reality of $267 Billion of product sales losing patent protection over the next 6 years has shifted from planning for the impact to executing on a strategy to lead the organizational changes at the company. One thing is certain; there are no magic bullets since there are no new blockbusters that will fill the large revenue holes.
In the last five years, there have been many strategies openly discussed and shared within the industry. Therefore there is no secret strategy that one company has as its secret sauce. The following press release, IMS Forecasts Global Pharmaceutical Market Growth of 5-8% Annually through 2014, indicates the approaches the industry will take for continued growth. These strategies include:
- Growth from emerging markets
- Personalized medications and complex therapies
- Graduated approvals with on-going evidence of outcomes
The supply chain organizations are the most impacted by these changes, because they need to transform. A recent PwC report, Pharma 2020: Supplying the future, concluded by saying: “The supply chain is simultaneously becoming more important, as the medicines the industry makes get more complex and the opportunities for generating value from pure product offerings diminish”. These changes thrust the supply chain organizations into a strategic role within their company.
In all cases, the transformation of the supply chain involves driving more visibility and collaboration upstream all the way to raw materials suppliers, downstream to patients and across geographies into emerging markets. Here are some quotes from the field that demonstrate the imperatives:
- “The company is banking on emerging markets for revenue growth and we need to ensure secure distribution”
- “Emerging markets have 10x the counterfeiting and diversion and the trust factor is material to our revenue opportunity”
- “Three out of five new product launches this year will be with products manufactured by outsourced providers”
- “We need to track outcomes in order to enter the market and maintain FDA approvals for most new medicines”
- “We want to be at the center of our virtual network and have all our partners connected to us with real-time visibility”
In the technology industry, we went through a similar stage for personal computers when the value of product innovation merged with the value of operational excellence. Dell and HP emerged as winners because they were able to combine product innovation with supply chain execution excellence. Change and transformation was not a matter of optimization but a necessity for survival.
Of the companies we work with, the ones that understand the moment are moving at a fast pace with determination that clearly sets them apart as leaders. They recognize that change is accelerating and Wall Street is very unforgiving of execution failures. Traditional and safe decisions are not acceptable when they don’t deliver the results necessary for the business. There is no buffer for mistakes or being a year behind.
At TraceLink, we are embracing the change and working with the industry to support their transformation. The velocity of the transformation will hit higher levels every day and we will be there with you delivering the visibility and collaboration your business needs.
Wednesday, February 02, 2011
Today we are officially launching version 2.0 of our Predictable Supply Network. Behind every company is a story of how it learns and evolves with the marketplace. As a company we always believe that the best ideas and needs are expressed by our customers. It is our job to listen, learn and collaborate with people that share our vision and partner in the development of the product.
The seeds of this release were planted more than a year ago when we first introduced our innovative Network approach to supply chain leaders. At every meeting, we had the same exact reaction. “Wow, we never thought of approaching the problem the way you have.” The fundamental value of a collaborative network of inter-operable business processes in an integrate-once and inter-operate with everyone framework was immediately evident.
However, the access and integration of the network into their current business applications and processes had to be automated. This is when you turn humble and let the customers chart your course. Our early partners, who include Catalent, Patheon, Sharp and a number of major pharmaceutical companies we cannot name, told us explicitly what we needed to do. They committed their time and a team to work with us to define and create the next set of capabilities.
The customer requirements were clearly expressed:
- “We need integration into our ERP”
- “We have multiple ERPs so we need to have an harmonization of the information formats for our systems”
- “We want you to handle the mapping of the data to our supply chain partners”
- “We want a solution that can allow us to integrate with all our partners without having to invest in individual integrations with each of our partners”
- “We need to link the information across business processes including ones that are not supported by our ERP”
The commitment from our partners/customers included assigning teams to share information and actively work with us on the solution, as well as engaging in multi-day workshops with the executive team to identify and maximize the value for their business. As we designed the solution we iterated in a tight loop with teams across multiple companies. Our shared belief is that we are leading the industry to a new working model that will mutually benefit all parts of the supply chain.
With this release, we are not only providing the service to the larger marketplace to join in on our transformation of the supply chain platform, but we are also integrated with Catalent, Patheon and Sharp. This enables hundreds of Pharmaceutical and BioTech companies to now join in and seamlessly collaborate on Production Tracking, Material Tracking and Inventory Monitoring. With a single integration into the TraceLink Network these companies can inter-operate with any other company on the TraceLink Network. As part of the TraceLink Network, the integration is on your terms. Whether you want to integrate using SAP IDocs, EDI, XML or CSV, we have the support. Furthermore, you work with us to determine the formats you need and we will add the support.
This is a turning point for the industry and we are very grateful for the tremendous contributions by our partners. This process reinforced the values we operate with as a company.
Monday, June 21, 2010
Today, we announced our strategic partnership with Catalent. Over the last six months we have learned significantly from each other and developed a clear understanding of the functionality and information that needs to be shared between a global contract manufacturer and packager with their thousand customers. Instead of getting distracted by the complexity of each relationship, we focused on functional simplicity and broad utility.
Companies have complex business processes and inter-company process integration is often a tug of war between two companies trying to force-fit one company’s process with another company. The semantics surrounding these conversations is also confusing, since business process names and information fields are interpreted differently by both parties. Expand the conversation to all your supply partners and you soon have a massive challenge in basic communication. The standards approach with EDI and proprietary portals only makes matters worse, because it requires too much process and information integration to get even the basic level of visibility.
In reality, we just need to use a single business application for processes that cut across all the supply chain companies. By using the same application that has a common definition of data, business rules and collaboration tools, we can eliminate the many-to-many, multi-enterprise issues. The purpose of a common application is not to supplant current business applications at each company but instead to put into a common application framework the processes we already conduct via our informal activities using fax, phone and email.
In any large-scale network application, the value is based on commonality of capabilities. Inter-operability and uniformity, enabling collaboration with all partners, is far more important than special features for specific members. Large-scale network applications focus on core features that enable valuable capabilities across all users. At the core, Facebook and LinkedIn are very simple applications that enable its users to connect and share information across a set of relationships.
Our approach at TraceLink was to focus on the core functionality needed to facilitate communication, coordination and collaboration for well understood business processes. In order to keep it simple and valuable for our customers we established three guiding principles for designing functionality in our service:
- We are the communication vehicle between contract suppliers and their customers for their shared business processes.
- We facilitate the shared execution of those business processes by enabling each party to push and pull information in a format and manner best for themselves.
- We link and instrument the related business processes to show mutual dependencies and overall analytics.
These principles enable us to fill the capability gaps between companies without imposing one partner’s IT requirements on another. We believe our approach and solution will deliver the true benefits the industry seeks from a Cloud Supply Chain. Our partnership with Catalent will enable us to lead the adoption of a solution that will create a more predictable supply chain.
- India Delays Primary-Level Barcoding for Exported Pharmaceuticals
- Brazil Proposes Pharmaceutical Serialization and Traceability System
- GS1 Publishes 2015 Serialization, Pedigree Implementation Guideline
- California Board of Pharmacy E-Pedigree meeting (3/14) agenda
- CA Board of Pharmacy Inference Mtg.
- CIOs Must Lead Cloud Initiatives
- Microsoft SharePoint = Shared Disappointments
- Drug Shortages and Counterfeits Can Be Eliminated
- Lead Change or be Left Behind
- Customer Driven Innovation