Here’s how Cipla aims to be a digitally agile company, IT News, AND CIO


At the start of the pandemic in an effort to compensate for the disruption, Cipla quickly adapted to the work from anywhere model for its corporate employees. This allowed them to leverage digital strength and use it as a catalyst for future readiness across all functions – finance, supply chain, human resources, manufacturing and sales.

Kedar Upadhye’s strategic approach to talent management paves the way for the development of leaders who drive business strategies and values ​​across the organization. To ensure talent remains relevant in the face of changing patient needs, technological advancements and transforming business models, Upadhye, President and Global CFO of Cipla, fosters a culture of continuous learning through programs holistic development. This knowledge sharing facilitates leadership development and skill building, while creating a strong succession pipeline.

CFOs are under tremendous pressure to deliver return on investment (ROI) and value-on-investment (VOI) from these digital initiatives. Whereas, Upadhye believes in measuring contact times, customer and stakeholder enjoyment, and employee feedback on the ease of doing business internally.

“With this in mind, we have also worked on an intervention dedicated to Digital Learning. As part of this program, employees across the organization take a variety of training interventions ranging from self-paced, online programs, digital content on specific topics like AI, ML and VR to name a few, ”Upadhye explains.

Cipla University’s digital learning platform, Percipio, has played an important role in providing employees with continuous, real-time access to learning material on a wide variety of topics. On average, about 12,000 employees access nearly 3,000 courses each month.

Along with this, in line with its growing reliance on technology for better efficiency, Cipla has also digitized its recruiting process with the launch of a recruitment management platform for all positions based in India. The platform increased recruiting efficiency, improved recruiting analytics and reporting, and further streamlined the entire talent acquisition process.

Spend the right amount on technology and new talent

Cipla is rapidly adopting new era technological solutions and streamlining costs, processes and methodologies to improve yields and efficiency. At the same time, they maintain a strong network of alternative suppliers to mitigate supply risks across our manufacturing value chain. At Cipla, automation and technology-driven transformations keep us relevant and competitive, while driving operational excellence.

“The best way to ensure that a business doesn’t underinvest is to set goals for digitized operations and business models and achieve them methodically. There is also a limit to digest, absorb and accumulate digital means in a routine operation and it is therefore preferable that these investments are appropriately phased. The return on investment obviously won’t happen in the short term, but in the long term the distinctiveness of a smart digitization initiative is visible, ”said Upadhye.

Launch of digital campaigns to educate patients

In order to create a direct connection with patients, Cipla this year launched Breathefree Digital Educator, India’s first digital education platform to help patients learn the right way to use inhalers. More than 3,500 recommended doctors and more than 11,000 patients registered on the platform. This is India’s first digital educator for inhalers available in 3 languages.

In addition, Cipla has also launched a dedicated Breathefree website in Nepal which includes a live chat feature on the portal for patients to contact their respiratory issues. During COVID-19, the website’s live chat feature helped patients deal with their basic breathing problems with advice received from doctors at Breathefree clinics. The website has enabled widespread respiratory disease awareness through digital marketing. The Breathefree website campaign in Nepal answered approximately 5,000 patient questions, referred over 300 new patients to Breathefree clinics in three months, and reached over 100,000 people in Nepal.

Cipla launched the Bronki Boosters campaign to educate over 100,000 children and help minimize the stigma associated with asthma and the use of inhalers. This fun campaign was used to educate children about asthma in South Africa using superheroes as motivation through comics and other audiovisual media. 15 videos launched in phase 1 with BronkiBooster brand masks and disinfectants supplied to schools.

Thanks to the digital increase, significant progress has been made in increasing medical coverage with the launch of Health Superstars, a knowledge-sharing platform for physicians in 30 countries.

Upadhye points out, “This was Cipla’s very first global web series featuring key thought leaders and experts in the therapeutic field. Four global shows hosted in five international languages. It aimed to showcase world-class physicians sharing unique respiratory issues and real-life experiences in dealing with respiratory complications with healthcare professionals from around the world. ”

Digital technology to improve business processes

Cipla focuses on constantly improving supply chain responsiveness, competitiveness and customer service through innovation and technological advancements.

The pharmaceutical company has deployed a material availability dashboard, which is a common access tool for procurement, planning and manufacturing teams. The dashboard identifies material availability risks in advance and recommends mitigation measures. As a result, our material availability in fiscal year 2020-21 has improved to approximately 90% from previous levels of 70-80%.

Cipla also leveraged Ariba, a cloud-based network with a suite of services to digitize, simplify and add visibility to the overall source-to-pay process. It facilitates price discovery and savings by connecting buyers to suppliers. Over 80% of our suppliers are connected through Ariba and over 100,000 purchase orders have been routed through the system since its inception.

Additionally, speaking of adopting corporate policies that drive digital transformation within your organizations to ensure sustainable growth, Upadhye says that the biggest differentiator of this digital agenda is the tone from the top and “a focused methodical vision. to make a difference in the company’s trajectory through digital interventions. . Additionally, what we have experienced is senior leadership sponsorship and continued governance on progress is a must.

The future of automation and digitization at Cipla

Upadhye embarked on a transformation journey at Cipla to realize its vision of becoming a digitally agile company. They have already started to adopt and integrate digital tools and capabilities that have improved the connection with patients, physicians and other stakeholders and help us reinvent our operations along the value chain; and thus, help Cipla shape the healthcare ecosystem in a meaningful way.

In addition, he discusses his roadmap to becoming a redesigned digitally native organization: “We have established five key governance forums to solicit input from internal and external stakeholders, identify disruptive digital trends and create winning solutions. and creative for the new digital ecosystem. By leveraging these forums and the power of digital solutions, we plan to shape the future and improve the inclusion, accessibility and affordability of healthcare, ”said Upadhye.

While digital analytics and automation are redefining the performance benchmarks of pharmaceutical operations, they are also catalyzing changes in terms of improved equipment availability, capacity release and environmental sustainability. The two engines of analysis and automation are intended to completely transform the way of working in the workshop and to usher in a paradigm shift towards a lean and transformed manufacturing network. This will result in agile distribution to shipping operations, strict adherence to inventory stock standards, etc.


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