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Author's profile photo Joseph Miles

Life Science Paradox: Creating Opportunities During Times of Tremendous Change

Albert Einstein once said, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.   This is an interesting point of view given the magnitude of the changes that are underway across the health sciences industry in 2014.

In the “go, go” days of the ‘90s and early 2000s, life in the life sciences industry was great given the healthy pipelines and high margins that could obscure the need to improve efficiencies, reduce costs or focus on anything other than producing the next blockbuster drug or product.    

Of course, today’s reality is a very different place.   Life science manufacturers must not only focus on developing innovative drugs and devices but they do it with smaller R&D budgets with a focus on operational excellence that was never required in the past.    Organizations must reduce costs, improve productivity and increase revenues by getting products to market faster through new and more innovative ways.  

More specifically, the new paradox in the life science industry requires companies to transform their organizational operations & processes and ensure that they are, at a minimum, focusing on the following:  

  • Enabling Globalization:   life sciences companies must leverage their global buying power, standardize global processes, leverage common master data and think globally to avoid the redundancies & inefficiencies of the regional operating model.   This provides a huge competitive advantage from a profitability perspective and has become a must have strategy in 2014 and beyond.  
  • Creating Profitable Growth:  organizations must open new and innovative channels to get their products to market in the “digital age”.    This would include traditional channels such as wholesalers but also innovate with new channels such as direct to patient as organizations seek to drive top line revenue but though effective channels that can do so with low transaction costs.
  • Enable Operational Excellence:  as the generic and branded markets begin to converge, enabling operational excellence is becoming a baseline requirement whose goal is to increase productivity, reduce inefficiencies and eliminate costs wherever possible.   Further, as I highlighted in my previous
    blog “Leveraging Technology to Improve Therapeutic Outcomes & Reduce the Cost of Care”, organizations must adapt to leverage the breakthrough technologies that can transform processes and markets to create tremendous competitive advantages.   Without flawless operational execution,
    organizations will be unable to compete. 
  • Increasing Employee Engagement:   as process efficiencies continue to improve organizations must leverage their vast enterprise, operational and performance data to transform the employee experience by providing real time, predictive analytics that anticipate problems & identify opportunities before they are apparent to the “siloed” employee.   In my previous blog “Finding the Therapeutic Needle in the Healthcare Data Haystack”, organizations must utilize the operational data to create the analytics for the “millennial” employee of today who is more digitally astute than previous generations to empower them to make the real time decisions.

In short, organizations need to seize the moment to capitalize onthe opportunities that are presented during times of tremendous change.    Focusing on execution with an eye on innovation of business models that provide allow partners, physicians and patients to easily interact with your organization will, ultimately, win the day.

To learn more about we can help you with your business challenges please have a look at SAP’s Solution Explorer for the Life Sciences Industry.

What do you think about the issues discussed here? Continue the conversation in the comments below and on Twitter @SAPlifesciences

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