In today’s digital economy, patients are more accountable for their care and have greater access to their personal health information. Patients and payers are seeking personalized treatments with superior outcomes, but cost-effectively. Increasingly, value-based and outcome-based reimbursement are being floated as reforms to healthcare systems, primarily in the United States.
There is immense pressure on life sciences companies to do more for less. They are facing new price pressures and competitive threats. New entrants into the marketplace have changed the way they deliver products, forcing them to adopt new approaches or face stagnant or declining revenue growth and margins. Digitalization is forcing life sciences companies to rethink their business models and restructure the value chain. New value will come from the ability to digitalize the model and accelerate innovation.
To execute on their digital strategy, life sciences companies will need to reengineer their business processes. Life sciences companies with a global presence must have lean processes that are consistently executed. They must get away from siloed processes that are implemented and executed differently at different sites. This will help ensure that the support systems (process and technology) can scale up quickly to match the company’s growth. Life science companies must also evaluate if they have the right technology platform that can deliver on the vision. The winning platform will require an IT architecture that provides both stability and long-term reliability for core enterprise processes, while allowing flexibility in areas of frequent change.
The digital core is the foundation for the core processes that need to run consistently and in a flexible manner. It provides uninterrupted, real-time transactions and analytics, the ability to work with extraordinary large volumes of data, and connectivity to line-of-business extensions that enable supporting processes, such as talent sourcing and networks. To succeed, firms will need to put in place a coherent digital vision with clearly articulated offensive and defensive strategies. They will need to address emerging business models to drive outcome-based engagements and achieve connected health. They must satisfy new and evolving compliance regulations, outsource manufacturing, and drive operations based on the Internet of Things (IoT). Increasingly patients are adopting a connected health system by resorting to wearables. Life science companies can leverage such devices and build apps that enable the physicians and the manufacturers to understand patient behavior in order to provide the right guidance and treatment as well as improve products for enhanced wellness.
To comply with newer regulations such as serialization and identification of medicinal products (IDMP), companies must have high-performing databases with close integration to their inventory management systems. For global pharmaceutical companies, serialization can easily add a few billion records into their databases. Furthermore, such data must be stored for long periods, retrieved quickly, and reported to various entities. The right technology platform, along with niche compliance solutions, will enable companies to comply with these evolving regulations effectively.
The right technology platform that delivers streamlined integration to supply chain partners and outsource manufacturers can help companies get their products manufactured on time, efficiently, and at much lower cost. For product visibility across the extended supply chain, optimal equipment maintenance, and effective distribution of specialized products, IoT device-based data and a rich analytics platform become the new imperatives. By leveraging IoT, life science companies can significantly cut costs on equipment maintenance, react in real time to exceptions while products are being delivered, and gain better insights into their product distribution. . SAP S/4HANA was specifically developed to represent the digital core in this bimodal IT architecture. It provides life sciences companies with a proven framework to adopt industry best practices while attaining operational excellence – specifically, but not exclusively, across core industry capabilities, such as real-time supply chain and digitalized sales.
A comprehensive solution for life science companies
Life science companies need to manage their product shipments very carefully. Some products, such as blood derivatives, plasma products, and biologics, must be shipped in a temperature-controlled environment. Other products, such as medical devices, must be guarded against exposure to light, shock, and other factors. SAP S/4HANA with other SAP solutions can monitor such parameters in real time during shipment. In combination with transportation management and event management modules, the software provides functions to send out real-time alerts. Such alerts can save shipments if product is not yet damaged. The software also helps reduce costs and time in aborting shipments when the product is damaged. The analytics provided by the SAP Leonardo digital innovation system can help predict which shipping lines are best and safe for continued engagement. The process below illustrates how temperature-controlled distribution is tracked.
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