In early April I attended the LogiPharma Europe 2018 conference in Montreux, Switzerland, an event that attracted more than 800 attendees, including practitioners and executives from pharma and medical device industries, along with software vendors and many service providers.
Here are some key takeaways from a content-rich, fun and exciting pharma supply chain conference.
1. Patient-centric networks are reshaping pharma supply chains
In a thought provoking presentation, Philippe Francois, global head of supply chain for Novartis, observed that while pharma companies have been talking about patient centricity for years, a typical pharma supply chain links the Active Pharma Ingredient (API) to manufacturing, distribution, retail/pharmacy, and finally to patient—with the patient always at the end of the chain!
As we bid farewell to 2017 and usher in a new year, what can we expect to see in 2018?
As per usual, folks will flock to the gym in record numbers to burn off those extra holiday pounds and then, all too soon, workouts will become a distant memory (These are “January people” according to an article in the Huffington Post). I know this to be fact because I am a January people.
This year will also see athletes from around the globe gather in Pyeongchang, South Korea to go for gold at the 2018 Winter Olympics. “Royals” fans will be glued to their TVs and personal devices to watch Prince Harry wed actress Meghan Markle at St. George’s Chapel in England. In November, space travel enthusiasts will follow the launch of NASA’s InSight as it embarks on a journey to the “Red Planet” – Mars.
But wait, there’s more.
When it comes to big events in 2018, let’s not forget about the world of supply chain planning. There are some cool events in 2018 you might want to check out. Here are just a few at a glance.
“Hi, my name is Mike. I’m the new Influencer Relations Manager here at Kinaxis.”
That’s the line I delivered dozens of times over the span of two and a half days to customers, analysts, and co-workers alike at Kinexions ‘17 in Orlando, to which one reply came, “What exactly does an Influencer Manager do?” I was about to find out.
To provide a bit of context, I started at Kinaxis just one week prior to Kinexions. Just. One. Week. Though that may sound somewhat ominous, the expectations on my attendance and participation were reasonable, and quelled any concern over having to understand the industry right out of the gate.
The mandate was simple: to meet as many people as possible, analysts, customers, and co-workers included. And listen. Listen to the language of the industry and absorb as much as I could in a short amount of time.
The opportunity to dive in to all things Kinaxis right out of the gate proved invaluable. I quickly discovered that in many ways supply chain management was something to which I could easily relate. Something that was both immediately accessible yet infinitely complex.
From catching up with the very first Kinaxis customer to exploring the future of supply chain, day one of Kinexions, our annual user and training supply chain conference, proved to be an out-of-this-world learning experience, aptly set to a soundtrack of songs by ‘80s rock group Journey.
And what a journey day one at Kinexions has been. Here are just a few of the great insights coming from the conference:
“Artificial intelligence and machine learning aren’t magical pixie dust.” John Sicard, CEO, Kinaxis
As Kinaxis CEO John Sicard put it, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) aren’t magic, but they can help you create a little in your supply chain. Sicard talked about the notion of a self healing supply chain, one based on machine learning algorithms, which can help you:
Analyze and make intelligent predictions on what your values should be
Heal itself automatically
Monitor performance improvement and value over time
I was at the recent LogiPharma US conference for the pharmaceutical supply chain leaders. However, most of the insights and the stories I took away from the event are applicable to other industries as well. Here they are:
1. Personalized medicine demands supply chain agility: During a highly engaging panel discussion on “Building a patient-centric supply chain”, Kevin Cook, VP of North America supply chain at Sandoz (a division of Novartis) talked about the unique nature of the recently approved Kymriah, CAR-T cell therapy for children and young adults with certain types of Leukemia. The therapy showed an 83% remission rate in the patient population studied! In CAR-T cell therapy, every single dose of a treatment is completely personalized, as it involves extracting the patient’s immune cells, bringing them to a production facility, genetically modifying them, transporting them back (at minus 180oF!!), and then reinfusing the patient to fight the cancer cells. So, personalized medicine is here! With it comes several logistical challenges.
While Kymriah is the ultimate example of personalized therapy, there were several attending companies that provided therapies for rare diseases affecting a few hundred to a few thousand patients across the globe. In such a high mix, low volume portfolio, decisions such as how to allocate short supply to patients in case of contamination of a manufactured batch, can be lifesaving. Brad Pawlowski of Accenture said it right during his opening remarks – “Instead of executing one supply chain a thousand times, we should get ready to execute a thousand supply chains, one at a time”.
The 2017 Gartner supply chain executive conference took place at the O2-Intercontinental Hotel in London on September 20th and 21st. The theme of the conference was ACT (Aspire, Challenge, Transform), same as the Gartner supply chain summit in Phoenix during May of this year. A few of the presentations in London, such as a highly provocative key note by John Philips of PepsiCo are a repeat from this prior event. I covered my observations from the May event in a previous blog. To avoid repetition, I will focus on some net new messages that resonated well with me from this event. Here they are, in no particular order:
1. Tailor your supply chain to cater to diverse businesses: In his keynote, Mourad Tamoud, EVP of Global Supply Chain Operations of Schneider Electric talked about how they are segmenting their supply network based on their customer personas and purchasing behaviors. Based on how Schneider plans, delivers and executes, the following five supply chain models were defined:
b. Lean supply chain (for customers who value the economic aspects of their purchases)
c. Agile model (for the customers who value reliability above all else)
d. Project model (for high level of configurability)
e. Fully flexible
Using these different supply chain models, Schneider was able to tailor the service and the overall experience for customers by different personas/groups. The crux of his message was that the overall design and the technological enablers are equally important in enabling “tailored supply chains”.
Recently, I was asked to write an email with a FOMO theme. Admittedly I had no clue what this meant (maybe it’s an age thing?). Then my mind wandered to the gutter because it starts with the letter “F.” Then I asked Mr. Google who never lets me down – and he didn’t.
FOMO is short form for “Fear of missing out.” It’s really the fear that if you miss a party or event you will miss out on something great. Well, speaking of events and something great, that’s exactly what Kinexions ’17 promises to be. Hey, on that note, check out this little snippet!
If you read my last blog post, you know that Kinexions is the premier supply chain conference event for our RapidResponse® user community. It’s two jam-packed days of networking, inspiring keynotes, informative general sessions and a variety of breakouts delivered by customers, product experts and partners. This year, Kinexions takes place Oct. 10 and 11 in Orlando, Fla. And, thankfully, it’s all systems go – despite Irma’s recent visit.