Monday Jun 17, 2013

Enterprise Product Lifecycle Management: Why Pharma Should Engage Now?

Bertrand Godillot - Senior Director, Enterprise PLM Solutions EMEA

Modern Approaches

We have recently seen some traction around new ways of looking at product lifecycle management in the pharmaceutical industry. Traditional approaches focused on revenue optimization for in market products. Modern approaches bring the light on the front end (early to late phase III), cross functional processes which lead to commercialization: from clinical to operations…

The Shifting Focus

There are multiple reasons for this shift, but the most important one is probably the massive structural change in the pharmaceutical companies’ product portfolios: the golden ages of blockbusters are gone! Pharmaceutical executives have been extremely active in the last few years trying to figure their way out of foreseeable challenges in revenue streams and margins: acquisitions, out and in-license, generics business development etc… At the same time, they have embarked into classic cost reduction initiatives, especially outsourcing. On this later point, a number of product related activities have been transferred to partners including late stage development, clinical trials, clinical supplies, regulatory activities, as well as commercial manufacturing.

So far we have seen very little focus into the execution part of the story! Execution performance remains poor, essentially because of a significant lack of coordination between disciplines. This leads to unacceptable delays and compliance issues responsible for missed revenue and increased costs. Both top and bottom lines are affected. While successful modern Product Lifecycle Management initiatives would drive “indecent” benefits to the pharmaceutical industry, very few companies have developed implementation plans…

Lean Techniques 

It is about applying “lean” techniques before moving to commercialization. It is also about developing a progressive IT roadmap to migrate towards a simplified, more integrated landscape. Both of these should be executed concurrently to ensure continuity of compliant business with the “product” at the center.

While early adopters of PLM for pharmaceutical are definitively out there, they are, interestingly enough, not very talkative about their results. The main reason is to be found in the competitive advantage they gain out of their transformation to a “connected” organization: enhanced visibility, consistency and predictability in business process execution, and better compliance.

We are certainly ready to give our views and share our experiences with decision makers in the pharmaceutical industry to help drive this topic in their organizations!


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A cross industry discussion on ways to better manage product data and the entire product lifecycle from idea to end of life with special attention to the unique challenges faced by European companies.

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