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Implementing Accenture Supply Chain Academy has enabled Pfizer to put its employees the path to improving their skills—and materially improved its supply chain operations and ability to respond to new market pressures.
Given that supply chain excellence is a key driver of high performance, Pfizer’s collaboration with Accenture is playing a role in helping the company achieve its business goals.
Pfizer Inc. is a diversified global health care company, with a portfolio including human and animal biologic and small molecule medicines and vaccines; nutritional products; and many of the world’s best-known consumer products. In late 2009, Pfizer acquired Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, creating one of the most diversified organizations in the pharmaceutical industry.
Prior to its acquisition by Pfizer, Wyeth had chosen Accenture Supply Chain Academy to play a central role in its ongoing cultivation of differentiated supply chain capabilities, particularly among a subset of employees across its European, the Middle East and Africa regions, and selected global supply chain teams. This advanced supply chain learning solution gave Wyeth access to a powerful combination of online courses, live webinars and proven frameworks and tools, through which the company was able to keep its vital supply chain capabilities in top form.
For instance, Wyeth derived substantial value from the Supply Chain Academy’s competency framework for key supply chain roles, and its training programs targeted at closing competency gaps among employees, which both enhanced employee skills and increased job satisfaction.
These assets proved valuable indeed to Wyeth in the fast-paced, dynamic and competitive global health care market, boosting the consistency and effectiveness of its supply chain function in key geographies. In fact, when Wyeth was acquired by Pfizer in early 2009, the acquiring company quickly took notice of the value being generated by the Supply Chain Academy, and formed a plan to leverage that value across the newly formed organization.
As stated by Lisa Brown, Pfizer’s director of supply chain capability, “The goal was to take the best of the best from both organizations and create new opportunities. The Supply Chain Academy quickly came to the surface because of its unique value. At the time, Pfizer did not have such an online supply chain professional development tool that would allow our people around the globe to develop themselves.”
Pfizer was especially eager to take advantage of the Supply Chain Academy’s potential to accelerate and enhance the transformation of its global supply chain function into a source of sustainable value and increased agility. The company also sought to build a common foundation of knowledge across the many moving parts involved in its acquisition of Wyeth and other, smaller companies. In light of the successful deployment of the Supply Chain Academy in leading businesses across industries and geographies, Pfizer was confident this resource would help it achieve these goals quickly.
Collaborating closely with Pfizer, Accenture launched a customized implementation of the Supply Chain Academy that would imbue the company’s supply chain with the broad set of skills it would need to maintain market leadership for years to come. Brown noted, “Our initial goal was to provide our market leaders with the professional education they needed to function in the broader supply chain functions.”
Pfizer’s initial target employees included its global market leaders, as well as numerous demand planners and logistics leaders. Working together, Accenture and Pfizer designed a customized curriculum for these employees that would boost their working knowledge of the end-to-end supply chain. Based on Pfizer’s needs, additional topics are being added to the development schedule in such areas as supply chain security and cold chain.
Pfizer’s supply chain transformation also would entail the creation of new roles, and the subsequent need to provide key employees with new and enhanced skills related to those roles. Accenture worked closely with Pfizer to map its content to Pfizer’s new organizational design and ensure the right employees would participate in the right courses.
As part of this process, Accenture helped Pfizer develop a comprehensive Curriculum Builder based on approved Pfizer roles. The intention of this tool is to let users rate themselves against a number of competencies associated with their role, identify gaps and design an individualized curriculum. Accenture further enhanced the value of this tool by tailoring it to Pfizer’s supply chain roles, core competencies and desired proficiency levels. Accenture also helped Pfizer establish the Supply Chain Academy metrics, frameworks and dashboards it would need to measure the impact of those courses on the achievement of its goals and adjust its approach accordingly.
With this groundwork in place, Accenture and Pfizer have developed powerful, multi-channel communications campaigns to publicize the value of the Supply Chain Academy to Pfizer employees and encourage enrollment among a broader pool of supply chain staff. From banners and postcards to intranet pages, these materials have been designed to maximize Pfizer’s return on its investment in the Supply Chain Academy as quickly as possible. Accenture and Pfizer’s manager of supply chain capability, Mona Abdellall, have teamed up to deliver a series of webinars that teach global supply chain employees the intricacies of using the Supply Chain Academy, including site navigation, course selection and the importance of adhering to individual development plans.
“The SCA webinar initiative along with Pfizer Web portal promotional messages were key to the launch and early adoption of Supply Chain Academy," Abdellall said. "The Accenture team was there to support Pfizer every step of the way. “The Pfizer-led global webinars attracted more than 500 colleagues from all over the world due to the attractive features SCA offers. Courses in different languages, recent articles from popular magazines, live webinars and an abundance of online courses that they could complete on their own time offered a new and innovative way of learning in Pfizer’s Global Supply Chain Network.”
In just a few short months, hundreds of satisfied Pfizer supply chain employees across the company’s global footprint have taken advantage of Supply Chain Academy. The professional growth enabled by the Supply Chain Academy has earned rave reviews among Pfizer employees, as has its flexibility and inherent suitability to Pfizer’s global supply chain organization. “People are enthusiastic about the SCA training opportunities and attendance is high,” said Brown.
Also, the promotional campaigns have been successful: monthly course completions increased by a factor of 2.5 between May and July 2011. In fact, with demand for training on the rise, Pfizer recently switched from a license-based model to one based on consumption. This new model will provide a much larger group of employees with access to the Supply Chain Academy. In effect, every supply chain employee—regardless of their role or location—now has access to the training they need to further their individual development plans. While this is a powerful benefit for employees, perhaps the greatest value to Pfizer is the enhanced agility and responsiveness that such a leading-edge supply chain capability supports.
Just as important, the implementation has been fast and predictable throughout, blending customized and existing components to boost Pfizer’s supply chain skills. The speed and certainty with which Accenture has been able to implement the Supply Chain Academy derives both from the solution’s tested tools, processes and content as well as Accenture’s deep experience in pharmaceuticals and supply chain management.
In short, by applying its valuable knowledge and expertise to Pfizer’s specific goals and challenges, Accenture has been able to support the company’s ongoing drive toward high performance.
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