What challenge(s) do our clients face?
The healthcare industry is notoriously complex and varies wildly from country to country, however from our experience, there are some challenges intrinsic to the sector which transcend products and geographies
In every country healthcare is underpinned by a labyrinthine ecosystem – the landscape comprises a huge number of players, is tightly monitored by regulatory bodies, and demand is driven by decision-making split between individuals, doctors and payers (the state and insurance companies). More so than other industries, an in-depth understanding of the market reality is not just recommended to succeed, but critical to play – providing the necessary foundation on top of which further challenges will be layered:
Balancing cost and patient outcome
- Underlying healthcare is the objective to serve as many patients as possible, with the highest quality care, at the lowest cost.
- Often these goals oppose, and careful trade-offs need to be made within the model to remain competitive without compromising patient care. Such decisions need to be informed by highly detailed analyses and data-driven simulations – which leave little room for error.
- Regulatory pathways drive product launches and day-to-day operations, touching everything from the supply chain to payer negotiations and marketing materials.
- Regulatory steps are non-negotiable and reviews often present long, unpredictable lead times. To maintain speed and enable internal strategy, businesses need to prepare for multiple scenarios, and embed agility in their teams to react to body guidance.
Gaining efficiency through shared services
- Due to the highly localized nature of the industry, knowledge and best practices tend to be built within local operations, alongside specialized processes and enabling roles adherent to market requirements.
- While other industries can build scale easily through global areas and shared services, centralized models are extremely challenging to implement effectively in healthcare: while there are clear savings to be made, it is critical to maintain the depth of knowledge necessary to navigate each market – leaning too far toward top-down decisions exposes the business to non-compliance and team frustrations.
Building sales team capabilities
- Characteristics and regulatory guidelines differ significantly between sales channels, and even within channels – wholesalers and distributors are served very differently to hospitals, and one hospital may have considerably more professionalized procurement procedures than the next.
- To guarantee that reps are equipped with the knowledge to operate in each channel, a precise balance needs to be struck in both sales team structure and training – it is too costly and time consuming to cross-train one team, but complicating the structure through overspecialization can lead to difficulties in day-to-day management.
How do we help?
With experience in healthcare products at different stages of the lifecycle all around the world, we understand the need to start from a solid foundation of local market knowledge
When each of these challenges is layered upon the next, the true complexity of operating and succeeding in healthcare becomes clear. Above all, Integration believes that knowing your business context, objectives, and local market is critical – and each of our projects is tailored to the specific needs and characteristics of the client, built and delivered together with the local team who will continue to lead the day-to-day.
Our practice-driven structure enables us to combine methodologies across supply chain, finance and management, marketing and sales, and implementation, and compose teams with the expertise to bring targeted challenge and technical solutions. Our professionals have worked across industries and geographies, and are equipped with a wealth of benchmarks and references to drive outside-in thinking, identify opportunities and deliver tangible results.
We know that flexibility is key – and all of our projects are adjusted week-by-week with you to guarantee that your needs are being met.
We have worked with clients in different categories, geographies and positions along the value chain:
A recently integrated healthcare group, comprised of a number of hospitals and clinics as well as an insurance arm, faced issues in driving effectiveness and speed within supply chain.
The fragmentation of key functions and lack of centralized decision-making constrained agility in the network, and disabled the business from growing scale.
Due to the frustrations across the organization, the client asked for Integration’s support as an external partner to redesign the supply chain, capturing efficiency opportunities while respecting the specifics of different units.
We began with a full diagnosis of the full supply chain – leveraging the business’ internal knowledge, strategy, and external benchmarks.
Based on the gaps identified, we developed initiatives across procurement, logistics, and operations planning, which were built out into a feasible roadmap and supported by a clear governance structure to provide leadership with visibility to take key decisions.
- Review of the organizational model, encompassing processes, management, and structure
- Implementation of strategic sourcing projects for more than 20 categories
- Centralization of the organization’s purchases, and shift of the purchasing area role from transactional to strategic: +95% of purchases centralized
15% increase in savings for categories in scope, and reduction of inventory levels by over 5 days for pilot hospitals, without impact on service level.
Empowerment of the supply chain team through targeted training, and close involvement in the implementation of strategic sourcing.
Our client, one of the biggest pharmacy retail chains in Brazil, with over +1000 stores across the country, needed to structure its omnichannel operational model.
Omnichannel was identified as a key lever to sustain business growth, with a focus on increasing reliability and efficiency in the operation.
The project was conducted in four steps:
- Mapping the logistic service level required by the market, considering competitors
- Revising the logistics model of the DCs and stores, looking at inventory positioning per region and service level offered;
- Redesigning core processes, the management model and technology;
- Supporting the implementation and go live of the new model.
The company was able to build a differentiated service platform, which enabled scalability and flexibility in the operation, and delivered double digit cost reduction.
Our client, a global pharmaceutical company was facing revenue challenges due to a changing market landscape characterized by (i) horizontal and vertical market consolidation at all levels (ii) emergence of diversified global competitors and (iii) a professionalization of Trade actors. They asked for Integration’s support in improving the capabilities and practices of their commercial teams to drive revenue growth and improve relationships with their customers.
Integration supported in the preparation and execution of a Key Account Management (KAM) capabilities program focused on retail, wholesale and hospitals clients. This had the objective to develop specific capabilities in teams, particularly to enable KAMs to have a business-oriented instead of process-oriented mindset, enhance customer centricity, and allow KAMs to work in multifunctional teams across BUs.
The program was developed at a global level, working alongside the commercial leadership teams, but also with significant input from countries, to account for the regional specificities which would be required.
The capabilities program was successfully rolled out to all countries in the organizations global portfolio following a pilot phased introduction. In the pilot it delivered quantitatively improved commercial performance in terms of sales as well as benefits in terms of client feedback.
Our client, a leading manufacturer and marketer of diagnostic devices, was acquired in 2018 by a private equity firm. As part of an aggressive growth strategy, the company entered into a JV with a leading manufacturer in a new subcategory.
Within the agreement, the organization was responsible for A) the development of the digital ecosystem to support patients, HCPs and caregivers, and B) the marketing and commercialization of this product globally.
Integration was asked to support in the planning and execution of the development and launch program for primary target markets (USA and Germany).
Integration provided immediate and effective PMO support to manage the commercial launch of this new product:
- Developing a detailed plan with all activities that needed to be carried out for the product development, regulatory submission and commercial launch in the USA – built together with workstream leaders through individual and cross-functional planning workshops.
- Establishing and managing a governance model to bring a more effective cadence and rhythm to the project’s execution.
- Detailing a budget plan for the commercial launch.
- Planning Germany launch strategy for a direct to patient model, working with local experts.
- Optimized plan for USA regulatory submission, with multiple scenarios created based on risk levels, across 10 workstreams (+750 activities outlined).
- Implemented governance cadence, with weekly monitoring of workstreams and progress on strategic partnership. Handover and tools provided to internal PM resources.
- Launch plan including all global activities and local milestones for its initial USA launch, across 17 workstreams (+1350 activities mapped).
- Direct-to-patient Germany launch model planned.