The pharmaceutical industry has faced massive changes, even before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Governments have been pressuring pharmaceutical suppliers to lower costs. Increased competition has required more speed from industry players. And an explosion of personalized therapies has strained medical supply chains to deliver unique products for each patient, rather than bulk supplies of a singular product. Within this climate, Basel, Switzerland-based F. Hoffmann La-Roche Ltd. pledged to deliver twice as many medical advances at half the cost to society.
Leading this charge is Roche's Pharma Technical Development Clinical Supply Chain (PTDS) team. Richard Groenenboom, head of global clinical supply chain management, says this group manages one of the largest and most complex pharmaceutical pipelines in the industry. The PTDS team typically handles more than 600 active clinical trials at any given time, and it plays a critical role in ensuring that 100,000 patients a year receive innovative new investigational medicines reliably and safely in almost every country in the world.
To push the needle even further, the PTDS team partnered with ASCM to transform the organization. The overarching goal was to better balance reliability, responsiveness, agility, cost and sustainability — key SCOR metrics categories — across operations.
Roche’s SCOR transformation process started in 2018 with general SCOR training and awareness sessions for all PTDS employees to help them communicate in the same business language. “Although we were successfully managing clinical trials for years with experienced people, we were not speaking the same language and did not have an end-to-end view of our processes,” explains Nathalie Mathys, business support project manager for clinical supply operations.
As a result of the training, clinical supply chain leaders have better aligned KPIs, and all PTDS employees were able to facilitate the process changes identified through the SCOR assessment.
The relationship with ASCM and Kent, who is now the executive vice president of global strategies and alliances at ASCM, continues to provide insights about where to focus in order to achieve the desired outcomes, says Mattie Coolen, site head of clinical supply chain operations in Kaiseraugst, Switzerland. To date, the PTDS team has completed more than 20 transformation projects under Kent's coaching.
The SCOR training and transformation projects delivered a variety of benefits throughout the business unit's processes, systems, tools and metrics that helped the PTDS team achieve its transformation and operational goals:
The organization reduced the lead time of its make-to-order finished goods kits by 50%, improved on-time delivery performance to 70% in 2019 and to more than 95% in 2020, and reduced the time for the deliver make-to-order product (sD2) SCOR process by 23%, or about five days.
These efficiencies were achieved without sacrificing reliability or out-of-stock performance. The team made a goal to keep its stockouts to fewer than 20 per year. In 2019, the company only experienced 11 stockouts. In 2020, the company had fewer than 10 stockouts,
Leaders implemented a monthly clinical demand and operations planning process as well as a project management structure within the enable SCOR stream to provide a harmonized governance structure and digital benefits realization tracking across all improvement projects. The PTDS team also added inventory and waste management processes that helped the team reduce comparator drug waste by more than $16 million. The team is on track to double that savings annually.
Better understanding of organizational and operational goals also aided the company in choosing its KPIs as well as a method for tracking performance. The PTDS team implemented the SCOR balanced scorecard as an easy-access, centralized, digital representation of a metric performance dashboard. KPIs are frequently reviewed, especially in sales and operations planning meetings, which has led to more efficient use of valuable clinical trial medicines and materials.
Once employees were all speaking the same business language and had at least a basic understanding of supply chain management and the SCOR model, company leaders were able to set clearer roles and responsibilities.