October 20, 2015

Pharmaceutical Distribution: Cloud Platform for Supply Chain Analytics

Business intelligence in the pharmaceutical supply chain has grown in the past years. With companies having to retain and keep track of copious amounts of data, the need for a new way to approach business intelligence and data management has manifested itself. With the lurking prospect of serialization and the data that will soon need to be readily available to companies and those that work with them, information technology is key.

H. D. Smith, a wholesale distributor and pharmaceutical brand support company for manufacturers and healthcare providers, has joined forces with FusionOps to supply information. FusionOps is a cloud application with built-in supply chain analytics that transforms data into information that can be acted upon.

Gary Meyers, CEO of FusionOps, divulges the vision behind the company. “We’re taking a dramatically different approach than traditional on-premise BI tools that companies use today,” he said. “FusionOps is an information cloud that mines raw data and transforms it into actionable information so business people make more informed business decisions.”

According to Meyers, they focus on the supply chain by providing metrics that give customs answers to supply chain-specific business problems, such as on-time in full deliveries and inventory turns. They also work to connect relevant data sources (internally or externally) and link the data.

“Our goal is little or no user training because we don’t want the learning curve to impede its adoption,” said Meyers. “We aim to change that by making analytics adoption as easy as opening a web page.”

When asked about the delivery of information between consumers of different markets, Meyers said that there are “more similarities in how information is consumed than one might expect.” However, manufacturers do have unique needs in terms of inventory analytics, production planning, and qualities.

“Even within the manufacturing community, certain verticals can have unique needs,” said Meyers. “And FusionOps Pharma was designed specifically for pharmaceutical manufacturers.

“From a pharmaceutical manufacturer’s perspective, it all comes down to cycle time. We believe that cycle time, as a single metric, may be the best measurement of an organization’s health. If you were to canvas the pharmaceutical industry and ask how long it takes from API (Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient) manufacture to packaged product available for sale, it is not uncommon to hear overall cycle times in the hundreds of days. These long cycle times translate into less shelf time as pharmaceuticals are perishable.”

To address this problem, FusionOps has decomposed the typical supply chain into the ten to twelve key manufacturing, quality, and transportation steps—from API manufacturing to final customer in a high level infographic dashboard. Average cycle time as well as the standard deviation and the sigma is measured for each of these steps. This information is updated daily and enables companies to focus attention on the areas where they need to improve. And improvements in these areas, according to Meyers, will “drive efficiency, lower working capital, improved customer responsiveness, and better shelf-life.”

According to Meyers, there are key features on their cloud application tool that are of particular benefit to manufacturers.

“Manufacturing companies have a massive amount of raw supply chain data. There are also external factors that impact their operations on a day-to-day basis, such as weather and macroeconomic factors that translate into more data,” Meyers explains. “Moreover, not all supply chain data is stored in a company’s ERP. There are dozens of other manufacturing execution and logistics applications providing more data—not to mention the venerable Excel files. FusionOps can integrate and harmonize all of this data, and transform it into actionable information to drive better decisions.

“We’ve taken the hard work out of getting insights with a large and growing library of pre-built data models and analytics, specifically built for manufacturing companies. Rich data visualization infographs called LiveAnalytics™ and root cause analysis enable users to immediately detect and diagnose bottlenecks and process breaks at each step of the supply chain in real-time. We’ve also removed information silos for fast root cause analysis. FusionOps enables users to look across procurement, finished goods and WIP inventory, production, quality, and other areas, to rapidly identify and correct issues in the supply chain.”

By partnering with H.D. Smith, FusionOps—according to Meyers—has enabled seamless sharing of business-critical information between pharmaceutical distributors, their customers, and their suppliers.

– Meg Snyder, Editor, @PharmProEditor

Tue, 10/20/2015 – 8:02am