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Accenture helped a global pharmaceutical company develop an R&D strategy to meet current challenges and position itself for high performance in the years ahead.
The client, one of the world’s top 20 pharmaceutical companies, has grown considerably by acquisition. The company conducts research and development (R&D) activities in multiple locations—including North America, Europe and the Middle East—and produces branded pharmaceuticals as well as generics.
For many years, R&D cost control was an industry afterthought because pharmaceutical companies had a track record of marketing highly profitable new drugs. In recent years, however, fewer blockbuster drugs have been progressing through the R&D pipeline.
In this business environment, the client perceived the advantages of improved cost management and operational excellence in its chemistry, manufacturing and control processes.
Greater value could be obtained from the company’s multiple sites, some of which had been acquired in recent years and were not operating in an integrated manner. A transformed R&D organization would let the company optimize its investments in promising research areas, collectively leverage existing core competencies and improve its manufacturing processes.
To tackle the R&D challenge, Accenture brought together an integrated team of consultants from our Process and Innovation Performance, Talent and Organizational Performance and Life Science industry groups. This team set out to help the client develop a more efficient, streamlined and nimble R&D engine—one that would be aligned with strategic priorities and power the company’s journey to high performance.
Accenture and the client chose to focus on transforming the global bio-generics division, especially the chemistry, manufacturing and control processes. Key sites were located in multiple hemispheres. Adding to the challenge, numerous groups provided input or were affected by the division’s outputs. Consequently, Accenture took a broad view of the entire process, and included human resources, finance, project management, bio-statistics and quality assurance in a holistic analysis of the complexity of all of the relevant activities.
Accenture combined the insights of process consultants with specialists in human resource and change management issues. As a result, the team saw people and process barriers that needed to be broken down. In terms of change management, Accenture recommended a long-term strategy for integrating the far-flung sites. The process recommendations included consolidation of back-end R&D activities, along with greater standardization, to improve efficiency across sites.
Accenture provided the client with an outline for a lean and effective organizational design across geographic sites while maintaining strong internal controls. Accenture also recommended greater transparency to improve collaboration within the client’s matrix organization. In addition, applying industry-leading practices would improve technology transfer across sites and with outsourcing partners as well.
Accenture delivered a plan to increase synergies in the bio-generics division by reducing complexity and correcting weaknesses in the organizational structure. Accenture delivered a holistic design for a unified R&D engine to provide the client with long-term value, especially considering the client’s ongoing appetite for acquisitions.
Due to the public’s increasing demand for affordable generic drugs, Accenture recommended that the client pursue process excellence in the near term over product innovation. The project team emphasized the need to design replicable and flexible processes capable of supporting development of similar and improved products.
“Our recommendations gave our client practical ways to address gaps in processes and organizational structure,” according to Chris McKenna, senior executive-Process and Innovation Performance, Accenture. “Accenture delivered a workable plan to streamline global R&D operations, both by supporting operational excellence and by recommending ways to reduce organizational barriers and develop deeply committed employees.”
An operations strategy for R&D is helping the client renew itself—an essential capability for high performance in an industry known for innovation and now challenged to become more cost conscious.
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