With the pandemic raging, big pharma needs to step up its corporate communication and collaboration.
With the advent of the once-in-a-century pandemic, no other industry has faced the burden of responsibility and expectations other than the pharmaceutical sector. As COVID-19 continued to impact our personal and professional lives throughout the world, the pharma industry was weighed down with the liability of ensuring business continuity and overcoming supply chain challenges. Apart from that, many major players of the pharma sector were also expected to conduct quick research and come up with vaccines and other medications to cure the potentially fatal illness. In the midst of dread and anticipation, pharma organizations found themselves in a difficult predicament where business-as-usual was no longer an option.
The new normal now requires pharmaceutical companies to be more collaborative and communicative than ever so they can deal with the challenges of operational excellence and timely delivery of products and services. Having said that, the current digital infrastructure often leaves a lot to be desired and is quite inadequate to handle modern demands and expectations. That’s where KanBo software can be an effective business and social collaboration tool for employees as well as teams who desire to put their efforts together so they can find efficient solutions and make this world a better place. KanBo delivers the visibility and transparency across a multitude of departments required to foster a collaborative work environment.
Understanding Corporate Collaboration
When it comes to communication and collaboration in large enterprises including pharmaceutical organizations, we have to appreciate the scale and diversity of the operational framework. There are a number of departments, sub-departments, teams, and groups working on various tasks, assignments, and projects simultaneously so it is a major challenge to bring it all together and turn it into a collaborative work environment. There are three aspects of collaboration the need to be a part of the overall operational infrastructure.
- Social Collaboration – This type of collaboration refers to the processes and policies that assist a multitude of teams as well as individuals to interact and share information to achieve shared goals.
- Business Collaboration – As the name suggests, business collaboration is all about the interaction between top-level management and the workforce to decide the path that the business is going to take and make major decisions.
- Real-Time Collaboration – When teams and individual employees have quick access to all the information, aren’t cornered into communication silos and can interact and communicate with each other immediately, it’s referred to as real-time collaboration.
UN Sustainability Objectives Pharmaceutical Organizations Need to Comply With
The first and foremost challenge for any major pharmaceutical organization today is to adhere to the guidelines and policies put forth by the UN charter that requires the companies to promote inclusive, sustained, and sustainable economic growth. Apart from that, the pharma organizations are also expected to provide full and productive employment along with adequate work conditions for everyone. Some of the salient points of the UN objectives include the following:
- Targeting High Economic ProductivityThe UN goals encourage the pharma industry to meet a higher level of economic productivity through innovation, technological upgrading, and diversification. They also need to focus on high-value-added and labor-intensive aspects of the operation.
- Promoting Development-Oriented PoliciesOne of the objectives is to encourage development-focused policies that help in promoting creativity and innovation, decent job creation, productive activities, and entrepreneurship.
- Enhancing Global Resource EfficiencyThe pharmaceutical organizations have also been given the target of improving global resource efficiency by 2030 in terms of consumption and production. They also need to detach economic growth from environmental degradation to promote sustainable consumption and production.
- Achieving Full & Productive EmploymentBy 2030, large-scale enterprises such as pharma organizations are tasked with the responsibility to achieve full and productive employment along with decent work for everyone including people with disabilities ensuring equal pay for equal work.
- Developing Safe & Secure Working EnvironmentAnother key target for the pharma industry imposed by the UN is to protect employees’ rights and foster safe and secure working environments for all workers.
Challenges Faced by Pharmaceutical Organizations in the Post-Pandemic Environment
Taking a cursory look at the UN’s sustainability goals and what pharma organizations need to do to achieve operational excellence, the crucial importance of social and real-time collaboration becomes crystal clear. According to a report issued by Johnson & Johnson, one of the largest pharma manufacturers,
“We know from decades of experience in science and technology that innovation depends on collaboration driven by a diversity of ideas, approaches, opinions, and individuals.”
In the absence of collaboration and efficient communication, teams and individuals have no way to coordinate and work towards shared goals. There are various challenges being faced by the pharma industry that can be solved by ensuring social collaboration.
- Fluctuating Demand for Different Prescription DrugsThe pandemic has created a unique and quite complicated predicament for many pharma organizations where they need to deal with the fluctuating demand for different medicines. While lockdowns and border closures have curtailed the annual exposure to some common medical conditions like flu, other types of diseases including COVID-19 are on the rise. This means that pharmaceutical organizations need to have access to quick data and insights that can be communicated across different teams to manage the ever-changing demand. Apart from that, they also need to identify any patterns so they can create projections and make accurate predictions.
- Revised Regulatory Policies and GuidelinesUsually, drug regulation is a slow-paced procedure that may take up to years to conduct tests and trials. However, we aren’t living in usual times. This means that many regulatory bodies and government institutions are testing and evaluating different types of drugs as well as disease-containing guidelines regularly. This has created an issue for pharmaceutical companies as well, as they need to respond quickly to the objections and reservations while ensuring the efficacy of their drugs. In this situation, the importance of social collaboration between employees and teams cannot be overstated as everyone within the company needs to be on their toes to ensure they are working within the scope of the latest regulations.
- Expectation to Conduct Perpetual Research to Contain the COVID-19 PandemicWhenever a novel virus or a new disease comes around, it’s natural for people to look towards the pharmaceutical industry to find a cure. It hasn’t been any different for the pharma companies in the case of the COVID-19 pandemic. Both consumers and the healthcare industry have set high expectations which means the pharma organizations need to conduct constant research so they can come up with anti-viral drugs along with vaccines so the virus can be contained. The expectations aren’t only there because people want the cure but they also want their lives back. The pandemic has effected a paradigm shift where we have completely altered our way of life and no wonder people are resting their hopes on the pharma industry to bail them out of this predicament.
- Robust Competition among Pharmaceutical OrganizationsWhile there’s a grim side to the pandemic, we cannot ignore the business side. The COVID-19 era has given rise to a wide range of issues for both people and the corporate sector but it has also provided the pharma organizations with an opportunity. Those companies that are at the forefront of research are more likely to be successful in terms of manufacturing anti-viral vaccines and drugs for treating and containing COVID-19. It is a major financial opportunity that has ignited competition between different pharmaceutical companies. In order to stay ahead of the curve, every company needs to build and nurture a collaborative work environment that ensures work visibility and informational transparency.
- Increasing Consumer Expectations and Managing Brand ReputationGenerally, people don’t really think about pharmaceutical companies and they are only brought up every once in a while. However, the recent pandemic has brought the pharma sector into the limelight where every individual along with the healthcare institutions is looking towards them to bail everyone out of this situation. This heightened scrutiny means that every aspect of the product, including pricing and efficacy, is under a magnifying glass. With a multitude of challenges like fluctuating demand and supply chain issues, companies’ brand cache and reputation are at stake. Without a collaborative work environment, the pharma companies are finding it challenging to collect relevant information and devise an adequate strategy in response that enables them to ensure proper reputation management.
- Handling Cyber Security Threats and Data BreachesAccording to the 2020 Cost of a Data Breach, a report issued by IBM, pharmaceutical companies are particularly vulnerable to data breaches and cybersecurity threats. The pharma sector is the fourth most-impacted industry in terms of security. Since consumer data has become more and more valuable and pharma companies are in possession of critical and sensitive information, cyber attackers are more likely to target these companies. Apart from that, there has been an increased use of automated technology such as IoT sensors in product manufacturing which increases the overall vulnerability. That’s why every pharmaceutical organization currently needs a secure, agile, and collaborative digital platform for work and business process management.
- Managing Supply Chain DisruptionsAlthough global pharma supply chains didn’t witness a collapse like other industries, the COVID-19 pandemic has shed light on some of the critical vulnerabilities in pharma logistics. It has been found that the lean supply chains created by the industry aren’t robust enough to deal with sudden demand surges. Moreover, production issues have also been caused by the pandemic resulting in long lead times and unpredictable supply. To deal with these issues, all stakeholders need to have a well-integrated communication and collaboration infrastructure in place so demand and supply can be managed in a more effective way.
Ensuring Social Collaboration to Build an Inclusive & Engaging Work Environment with KanBo
KanBo is an agile and comprehensive work and business process management platform that enables pharmaceutical companies to blend a diverse range of teams, talents, experiences, and skills to create a mutually beneficial work environment. This means that employees can communicate and learn from each other in real-time without getting imprisoned in any traditional silos. It gives birth to a socially collaborative environment that can help overcome the aforementioned challenges. Here are some of the key features of KanBo:
- Manage Work Contexts with KanBo CardKanBo Card is one of the basic building blocks which can become a central and highly focused source of insights, work visibility, and informational transparency. Using a KanBo Card, employees, as well as managers, can gather key information related to the work and progress and stay updated at all times. It also helps define work contexts so everyone knows their role and works in a collaborative manner. The level of transparency means there is no need to search and find the required information as it’s always there right in front of you.
- Document Grouping for Improved OrganizationWhen you are dealing with hundreds, even thousands, of documents on a regular basis, collaboration can become a major hassle. The document groups feature of KanBo allows you to organize, view, and personalize document structures according to your business goals and requirements. This provides employees with a refined overview as they can move the groups up and down to enhance the workflow. The groups can also be collapsed and expanded for personal work focus.
- Stay Updated with Card Activity StreamJust like a social media newsfeed that keeps you updated about the happenings in your social circle, KanBo’s Card Activity Stream keeps you updated about all the work including work context. This doesn’t only ensure effective and timely communication but facilitates immediate traceability. As you continue to work on the project and it becomes more and more scattered and disorganized, the activity stream always keeps you in the loop and provides you with a bird’s eye view so you can spot exactly what you are looking for. This level of transparency and visibility ensures that the pharma organization has complete control over its work and progress.
- Develop Communication Context with MentionsWhen you want to have a conversation with your colleague about work, you can simply use the ‘mention’ feature offered by KanBo. It ensures that ideas and opinions are communicated in an organized and structured environment while being documented at the same time. Since the context of the communication is predefined, there is no need to provide clarification any time anyone has a question. This eliminates any occurrences of misunderstanding and ensures that people are more focused on work than ever.
- Streamlining Work and Instant Communication with To-Do ListsWhen there are tasks and projects that are too complicated to manage, collaboration can become quite difficult. That’s where KanBo allows you to break down major assignments into small actions so they can be easily completed and tracked making collaboration and supervision much easier. The to-dos can be marked as soon as the job is done so the completion status is immediately communicated without having to write an email or conduct a meeting. This eliminates the need for traditional communication tools which saves time and encourages efficiency and productivity.
Meeting UN’s Sustainability Objectives with KanBo
KanBo isn’t just another digital tool but a comprehensive, agile, and adaptable software that can help pharma companies to build and nurture a collaborative work culture required to meet UN’s sustainability goals. With its informational visibility and work transparency features, KanBo allows large-scale organizations to be more resource-efficient in terms of both consumption and production while providing a decent work environment to their employees.
Low Code & No Code Customization
Many organizations including pharma companies don’t want to deal with business process and work management tools that require a full-fledged IT department to operate. KanBo gives C-level executives the opportunity to deploy a system that offers both ‘No Code‘ and ‘Low Code‘ customization features. With ‘No Code’, customizations can be made with ease without any requirement for an IT personnel while ‘Low Code’ only requires some coding ability to make the most of.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, we have become accustomed to a new normal. In these testing times, no other industry has been burdened with more expectations and responsibility than the pharma sector. They don’t only need to meet the expectations of the consumers and healthcare industry but also ensure compliance with the UN’s sustainability guidelines and regulatory changes and policy modifications. This means that they are in dire need of an overhaul of their digital business process and work management infrastructure to ensure high-level social collaboration.
KanBo provides pharmaceutical organizations with the solution they need with basic building blocks like Boards, Cards, and Lists which can be used in numerous ways to develop a highly collaborative work environment. This delivers the work visibility and informational transparency required to overcome the challenges posed by the pandemic.
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