Magazine Article | August 12, 2012

Ask The Board August 2012

Source: Life Science Leader

Q: How can companies build flexibility in product supply and manufacturing so they can better respond to volatile manufacturing capacity requirements?

Let’s look at this from two perspectives — the company’s external customer and the company’s manufacturing capability.  The need for accurate forecasting at the customer level is more critical than ever, and having this data accessible by product management, operations, and manufacturing allows for more flexibility.  Sales trends are easily identified and forecasted, so planning for now and in the future becomes predictable.  From the manufacturing perspective, some of the current trends indicate that companies are focused on being more responsive to customer and market needs.  These include increased budgets with investment in upstream and downstream technology, cost-savings (e.g. the use of single-use equipment), and the utilization of contract manufacturing as a more strategic, targeted approach to flexibility of product supply.  Incorporating these perspectives into the manufacturing strategy ensures external customer satisfaction and the company’s success.

Ann Willmoth, M.Ed. is the general manager of Blue Standard Consulting, a healthcare management consultancy, advising companies on business strategy and commercial approaches to the market. 

Q: What are some of the biggest mistakes you have seen companies make when revamping their leadership/mentoring program, and how can these be avoided?

One of the biggest mistakes companies make is focusing development efforts solely on those classified as high potentials. Succession must occur at all levels of an organization – not just at the executive level. The classic nine-box methodology is great for diagnostics, but not necessarily so great for creating development road maps. The goal of development programs should be to free people from boxes, not place them in boxes. But perhaps the biggest problem most organizations face in their leadership development programs is not being outcome-based. Programs must translate into measurable performance gains. If the curriculum isn’t aligned with the people, culture, and business objectives, it will fail.

Mike Myatt is a noted leadership expert, author, and widely regarded top CEO coach in America. As a thought leader and columnist on topics of leadership and innovation, his theories and practices have been taught at many of the nation’s top business schools.

Q: What keeps many R&D transformation programs from meeting their potential, and what advice do you have for improvement?

The simple response is trust and execution. Transformation programs have two goals:  getting to market in less time and at less cost. Perhaps choosing the wrong partner impedes these goals. Beyond the analysis of the partner’s experience and capabilities, you must consider each partner’s goals and competencies. Can the goals of each partner be achieved? Is the leadership present to assure goals are fully aligned throughout each organization? This is difficult on the strategic level; tactical considerations require accommodation of constant change. Trust is both given and earned at each company interface. Do individual teams bring trust to the table, or do they demand performance first? Both partners must execute in a transparent manner, or the alliance suffers.

Tim Krupa is president of TSK Clinical Development, LLC, a consulting firm providing leadership and solutions in clinical planning, project management, clinical operations, and outsourcing.

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