"Traditionally in our industry, we used tribal knowledge. We didn't have actionable insights — we were looking backwards. We're seeing that transition forward right now." - Dan Matlis
If you missed Closing the PLM Loop to Overcome a Disrupted Life-Sciences Reality, an Axendia "Straight from the Source" webinar with Propel’s Chuck Serrin, Axendia’s Dan Matlis and Kevin Chien of Salesforce, we’ll recap you on what we learned about how successful medical device manufacturers use technology to drive improved patient outcomes. Here were our three main takeaways.
1. The life sciences industry has become more “cloud comfortable” than before
The trend is undeniable: Cloud platforms are supporting resilience and allowing visibility across both the value chain and product lifecycle.
In an audience poll measuring attendees’ level of comfort with cloud technology, from cloud averse, cloud curious, cloud comfortable, to cloud first, 39% of webinar attendees classified themselves as a "cloud first" company.
There’s a digital imperative to move to the cloud right now.
There’s a digital imperative to move to the cloud right now, moving from product- and transactions-centered to customer experience-centered. Sales teams now prefer to track customer engagement in real time for personalized follow-up later, instead of chasing down disparate data only to lose that sale later, said Chien. The cloud is necessary to compete.
An increase in people working from home may also be contributing to a cloud-first mentality on the rise, speakers concurred: in a 2019 survey, 74 percent of respondents believed that flexible working has become the new normal — and those are pre-pandemic numbers. Remote work is only successfully enabled by cloud-comfortable and cloud-first teams.
2. Current collaboration processes are not effective anymore
Life sciences manufacturers have a glut of solutions that create organizational swivel chair processes, where lots of paper is created, said Matlis.
“Paper is the blankie,” Matlis says he’s experienced repeatedly from other organizations. “When you try to take away the paper, you get a temper tantrum from some people.” Legacy systems do offer comfort and familiarity — but at a now-unsustainable cost of decreased efficiency and quality control issues.
When you try to take away the paper, you get a temper tantrum.
Agencies such as the FDA now have digital requirements that are pushing legacy companies into the cloud whether they are ready or not. Moving from a document-driven to a data-driven system can only be accomplished through platform consolidation, said Serrin, enabling better visibility and benefitting IT as well with an easier infrastructure and simpler validation.
Serrin mentioned Propel customers as an example of just how far behind old collaboration capabilities are in comparison to cloud tools:
- Imperative Care’s management review process went from taking five days to five minutes once they reduced information silos in their organization, empowering them to create better products, prevent problems early, and improve patient outcomes.
- Advanced Sterilization Products reduced their six disparate systems into one platform where their PLM, QMS, CRM and field service records are all in agreement with each other.
3. Close the loop to improve visibility, especially during disruptions
The world has changed beyond our ability to jump back to the old normal. Recent shifts like COVID-19, remote work on the rise and shifting supply chain have disrupted life sciences manufacturing for good and "amplified the need for mission-critical cloud solutions," says Chuck Serrin, for visibility not just within the product lifecycle, but across the entire value chain.
There’s no going back to managing CAPA processes on a swivel chair. In another Axendia survey, the top two change management problems life science leaders said kept them up at night were:
- Slow/cumbersome change management process (55% of respondents)
- Unintended consequences of making a change (50%)
There’s no going back to managing CAPA processes on a swivel chair.
With the added impacts of recent shifts, timelines getting shorter and competitors, customers and auditors on their heels, med tech teams must remove one-way communication chains or risk getting slowed down by poor change management and compliance issues.
Departments must unite and catch issues early enough to beat competitors to market by deploying a digital strategy that enables fast response to disruption, supports improved product quality, and meets global regulatory requirements.