Pharma 5.0

Real-time data insights powered by digital transformation

Published: 11-Apr-2024

The most trailblazing contract development and manufacturing organisations (CDMOs) are at the forefront of digital transformation, leveraging it to offer unparalleled customer service through operational streamlining and the provision of insights

These aspects are crucial to ensure the timely and precise delivery of therapeutics as per their clients’ unique requirements, report Wayne Hull, Chief Digital and Technology Officer, and Kristi Lecher, Senior Director, Global Digital Supply Chain.

Enterprises adopting advanced digital methodologies, practices and technologies can not only solidify their leadership roles but also bolster their global competitiveness.

However, a pressing question remains: is the entire industry prepared to fully embrace digital transformation to foster agility, data centricity and future-readiness across its spectrum?

Digital transformation became a key differentiation for PCI as part of its business strategy in 2019 with the goal of creating new digital customer experiences — all while achieving more collaboration and efficiency throughout its global organisation.

Laying the groundwork

Thorough research preceded significant investments to ensure a well-informed trajectory during the digital transformation journey.

This comprehensive exploration encompassed the identification of pivotal trends that were poised to exert a substantial influence on the entire pharmaceutical supply chain, spanning from drug development and manufacturing to commercial packaging.

Foremost among these trends was the recognition of the value and potential applications of digital technologies to elevate the customer experience. Enhancing customer interactions not only necessitated the integration of digital capabilities but also a profound mastery of their use.

The second prominent trend revolved around the importance of real-time supply chain information. Customer expectations demanded instantaneous access to project updates, rendering the conventional manual approach inadequate.

Real-time data insights powered by digital transformation

Harnessing and catalysing a diverse array of digital components, PCI introduced pci | bridge™ in September 2020, marking a milestone in the delivery of real-time supply chain insights to their clientele.

This innovative endeavour aimed to establish an unprecedented level of customer service that aligned with the ethos of pristine client satisfaction.

Delivering a pristine customer experience

To create a truly advantageous digital tool for our clients, PCI embarked on a journey of collaboration and innovation. Inspired by the insights of four key customers, PCI harnessed their feedback throughout the development process.

These clients were integral participants in full-day workshops that unveiled their desire for more effective interactions with PCI.

From these sessions, key requisites emerged that notably enhanced supply chain visibility and reduced the time devoted to manual activities — all of which were underscored by the undeniable necessity of automation.

Armed with these invaluable client insights, PCI established a partnership with a digital product development firm. This union was driven by the shared goal of transforming the collective vision into a tangible reality.

The endeavour encompassed many design concepts that were meticulously refined to encapsulate the desired functionalities and user experiences.

Crucially, the clients remained deeply engaged in this transformative process.

Their input played a pivotal role in refining the tool’s evolution, spanning feedback-rich evaluations of capabilities, demonstrations and wireframes.

The primary aim was to not only ensure the tool’s reliability and functionality for the participating clients, but also its applicability and productivity throughout PCI’s broader customer base.

Through this iterative process of feedback and cocreation, the envisioned digital tool transitioned from a concept to a tangible reality.

The collaboration between PCI, the client ambassadors and the development team epitomises the power of client-centric innovation; they collectively forged a tool that’s poised to revolutionise interactions and efficiencies within the realm of PCI’s offerings.

Empowering clients with real-time data insights

The innovative pci | bridge™ platform revolutionises the clinical trial landscape by offering comprehensive tools to manage the trial journey.

Unlike systems that update data once daily, the standout feature of pci | bridge™ lies in its capacity to aggregate real-time information across three pivotal operational domains: inventory, production and distribution across the organisation’s global footprint.

Real-time data insights powered by digital transformation

Notably, this platform distinguishes itself by providing immediate access to production data, a dimension that’s often absent in systems that solely focus on inventory management.

Users can effortlessly procure real-time data and generate reports encompassing these three critical operations, catering to diverse data analysis requirements across projects.

Distinguished by elevated automation, pci | bridge™ empowers users with instant data and invaluable insights, facilitating informed decision making through continuous visibility into their clinical and commercial supply chains.

This dynamic capability also includes document sharing, KPI visibility and integration with other services for electronic signature and project timeline management.

Achieving optimal connectivity

Integrating PCI’s systems enables customers to oversee their diverse portfolio of projects within the PCI network. Owing to continuous research and development, an innovative avenue emerged: the provision of integrations with customer data via an application interface program (API).

This anticipated feature release unlocks a spectrum of business prospects for clients, spanning from managing purchase order submissions, shipment notifications and requests to demand forecasting, bulk shipment notification and bulk lot allocations for manufacturing.

Previous feature releases included integrations with prominent digital tools such as DocuSign and Smartsheet, amplifying the capabilities of pci | bridge™.

The integration with DocuSign, for instance, serves to notify users about pending documents that require signatures, ensuring that projects stay on course.

Real-time data insights powered by digital transformation

Furthermore, it identifies individuals who may have inadvertently overlooked the need to review and approve critical documentation, thereby hindering project progression.

Integration with Smartsheet allows users to track progress on open project timelines related to their products in the same place that they can view their production, inventory, distribution and invoice data.

pci | bridge™ can also notify users about past due milestones as an added avenue for project timeline management.

A year of achievements

Supported by a dedicated Customer Success team, the platform has seen tremendous growth during the last year and the value it provides is made evident in the data.

Our team has conducted more than 250 user enablement trainings, resulting in a 42.3% increase in platform adoption. Agile development methods are employed to ensure new capabilities are released often — demonstrated by more than 24 release events in the last 12 months.

The platform supports 4600-plus clinical trials and commercial products. As we anticipate further growth in 2024, we have strategically expanded the team to offer the same level of support and continued improvement and enhancement.

The foreseeable [digital] future

Introducing groundbreaking therapies to the market and sustaining the availability of existing novel medications has become a formidable task.

The intricacies inherent in the pharmaceutical supply chain — coupled with the growing demand for enhanced customer experiences — are placing new demands on innovator companies and their research and development-centric counterparts to fully embrace digital transformation.

In this landscape, partnering with a suitable CDMO becomes imperative as it provides the necessary guidance and support to avoid project delays. The digital transformation journey is continuous as we progress toward becoming a smart CDMO enterprise.

Although most CDMOs are still operating with manual processes in place, PCI has taken an aggressive approach to digitisation with pci | bridge™ as evidence of our commitment.

With more than 3 years of platform refinement already under way, pci | bridge™ will continue to evolve with new features and enhancements based on feedback from its users and as innovative technologies emerge.

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