A Fortune 500 Pharma discovers a 95% reduction in AHT through process transformation
Prior to investing in automation technology, one of the largest Fortune 500 pharma companies faced two crucial problems. First, as their business continued to grow, they needed a way to scale the impact of their existing teams. This required increasing output volumes without increasing the workforce. Second, as market and customer needs changed, they needed to shift their teams’ focus from manual, repetitive tasks to value-add activities, such as finding ways to improve product offerings. To overcome these problems, improve efficiency, and reduce overall operating costs, the company decided to leverage technology to transform its processes.
The Product Supply business unit was identified as a key area that could benefit from process improvement. The day-to-day activities of this unit are vital pieces in ensuring an efficient production cycle that can help the company stay competitive in the business landscape. Therefore, ensuring that this team works as seamlessly as possible is instrumental to the company’s overall success.
Fortune 500 Pharmaceutical Company
Supply Chain | Operations
Two teams within the Product Supply unit are Supply Chain Management and Logistics. The work of these two teams was distributed over a number of highly disparate processes. The fragmented nature of the processes also meant that they had no visibility into how work got done within the two teams. To understand where their automation potential resided, they turned to process discovery. The Product Supply team started their process discovery with brainstorming sessions only to quickly realize that this approach was not sustainable.
The results were slow to realize and did not offer the speed necessary to automate processes quickly. As the processes were spread across teams, it was extremely difficult to focus on the end-to-end workflow, as opposed to individual tasks. Those same processes were only evaluated based on their design, not how the teams actually performed them day-to-day.
In addition to the visibility problem, some of the most critical processes revolved around packing lists and certificates of analysis – for which the formats differed from supplier to supplier and came in different European languages. The variations led to each document being processed manually, which became extremely time-intensive and error-prone.
Due to the lack of visibility and the inefficiencies of a manual process discovery approach, the team was unable to identify which business processes they should standardize, automate, or eliminate. Additionally, getting business buy-in on which processes provided the best opportunities for improvement was challenging. They had no single way of building a business case, even if opportunities were identified.
The company partnered with Soroco to gather data and accelerate process transformation across the Product Supply unit. They deployed Soroco’s Scout across the Supply Chain Management and Logistics teams for 12 weeks. During this time, Scout collected over 9000 hours of click-by-click process data and identified 18 unique processes across the two teams.
The data collected by Scout guided a number of different operational actions:
- High degrees of variations were identified in 13 processes. Scout’s recommendation was to standardize them prior to automation.
- Two of the processes relied heavily on outdated technology for report creation, despite having new dashboard functionalities which could auto-generate reports. The recommendation was to re-train the teams on how to use the new functionalities.
- Five of the processes could be combined into one. The new cross-functional process, known now as the pick-and-pack process, could be almost entirely automated.
The pick-and-pack process, which previously took the team over 100 steps and 12 transition points to complete, was reduced to just 5 steps and 2 transition points after automation.
The Automation platform’s built-in document ingestion technology extracts relevant information from the complex packing lists and certificates of analysis, taking into account the formatting and language differences. Extracted with over 95% accuracy, this data is then displayed in a custom dashboard for approval. Once a user validates the information in the dashboard, it is submitted and the automation system continues processing through the end. The average handling time (AHT) was reduced from 15 minutes to less than one minute per transaction.
Impressed by the process improvement they were able to witness with Soroco’s technology, the company is now looking to implement the same solution in their other critical business units.