Prashant Kumar Pathak, CEO, Delcure Lifesciences
In today’s era of leveled playing field, running an enterprise efficiently is the key to its success. We today live in era where access to the three factors of production – land, labor and capital, is rather equal based on strength and quality of the fourth factor of production – entrepreneurship. This is possibly the single biggest reason why new kids on the block are rubbing shoulders with multi-billion dollar establishments and we are getting to experience this fiercely competitive marketplace. These conditions are ideal for any enterprise with a solid idea, concrete strategy and equally concrete strength to execute the strategy.
It may sound simple, but these ask could be quite challenging, especially in an industry like pharmaceutical industry where you have various regulatory norms, and innovations in core products are not an everyday affair. In such cases, one can expect to earn an upper-hand only by looking at things differently do things beyond the obvious. It is here, where the advice of experts who have cross-sectional view of the industry can make a remarkable impact on strengthening an organization’s position in the market.
Consulting firms have been very actively engaged by the pharmaceutical industry primarily to obtain an outside-in view into critical business functions like operations, product management and go-to-market planning. Consulting partners have played critical role in enabling organizations to become more efficient through transforming organization structure, digitalization, and automation of manual processes. Beyond these tactical engagements, a good consulting team can prove to be a great strategic asset. Here are two examples of how a consulting team can transform a pharmaceutical business from a strategic standpoint:
Mergers and Acquisitions: If you are a firm with slow organic growth in this largely competitive Indian pharmaceutical market, acquiring a promising company could be one of the most viable business strategies. The challenge is, how to pick a candidate for researching the data, as it requires quite an elaborate study of the potentials before any actual conversation can begin. Understanding the candidate company’s product pipeline, influence that their field force carry with the customers, their manufacturing strengths and quality of their accounting books are some obvious areas one would look for while considering a M&A situation but detailing each of these areas requires extensive understanding beyond the usual operational aspects. Consulting teams who expertise in M&A can prove to be of a great assistance to the internal finance, manufacturing and other relevant leaders when it comes to filter and qualify the M&A targets.
High Technology Integration: Technical prowess of a pharma firm is a deciding factor of its success. While last decade has been all about eliminating or augmenting manual process with advanced, IT assisted systems, the future of pharma business is all about better understanding of customers, and ability of swiftly innovate. In the post ERP era, efficiency of manufacturing and distribution alone is not sufficient to remain competitive. Equipped with advanced customer relationship management and human resource management systems, a sales VP can better forecast his sales figures and thus bring in consistency in the company. A treasure trove of data hides in the daily customer visit reports that the field staff may be peddling back to the headquarters which could be worth its weight in gold if it is used effectively for analyzing prescribing doctor’s patterns and differentiate it with the pattern of the non-prescribing doctor for example. However, these high technology systems are expensive to procure and it is extremely difficult to evaluate which system will suit your needs. These specialized applications can help a company transform the business and reinvent itself in the marketplace, but then there are just as many successful implementations as there are unsuccessful ones and while one organization pays one price, the second organization with a better understanding and a better equipped team can get it done in half the price. Such specialized tasks need the support of consulting partners. In pharma realm, there have been hundreds of technological innovations that have changed the rules of the game in last five years, and this trend is here to stay. Many large organizations are loosing the race of technical armament to the newer, more nimble ones, not in lack of will or lack of investments, but due to lack of focused strategy around technology. Consulting partners can do wonders under the right conditions by helping the company choose just the right technology solutions and set up the company for success.
Pharmaceutical market will continue to get transformed, as the regulations would change and new entrants would continue to disrupt establishes practices. With a single change in stance of the regulatory authorities around patents or the price control, a lot of large players got affected as their strategies were directly impacted due to these changes. Having a team of experts around in the arsenal to complement your own strengths could prove quite profitable in the long run.