Pharma supply chains lack quality leadership

Pharma supply chains lack quality leadership

Many pharmaceutical supply chains lack some basic leadership foundations for successful end to end supply chain management, according to a substantial research project that Pod Talent conducted within the EMEA pharma industry.  Interviews with many executive level supply chain leaders from a large cross section of pharma companies provided some powerful data that led to some interesting conclusions.

The great news is that supply chain has never been higher on the agenda within the pharma industry but without an influx of the right senior talent from other sectors, progress will be slow.  Sometimes, organisation structures were described as major blockers to progress, while many mid-level directors felt that a lack of end to end supply chain knowledge at the top was a major issue.  Many existing SVPs have come from manufacturing and do not have experience in areas such as demand planning, customer services or NPI management.  In many pharma companies these challenges were made worse by the lack of support from HR. Poor HR business partnering, little evidence of skills and leadership training and a lack of career path management all added to the challenges within the pharma industry.

Those organisations that have already looked outside of their sector for new talent and ideas have had mixed results.  One contributor summed up the nature of the pharma sector beautifully by stating: “Because of the technical nature of our products, the whole mind-set of our industry is geared towards what you know, not how you do things.”  The message is clear – when hiring talent from outside, there is a danger in focusing too much on knowledge and skills and not enough on the softer skills. The key to future supply chain success is not just accurate forecasting or inventory analysis, but also exceptional communication, change management, stakeholder engagement and people development.

The challenges are broad but the opportunities are HUGE.  It has never been a better time to work within the pharma sector and those with the right attitude and skills are able to make an enormous difference. 

This is just the tip of the iceberg and if you would like to request a full copy of the report, you can get in touch with Irua Dugarte at Pod at irua.dugarte@pod-talent.com 

If you would be interested in responding to this article or adding some comments in our next edition, please feel free to get in touch with Jon Dweck on +44(0)203 627 2420.

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