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“Business Growth Is Directly Proportional To Employee Satisfaction”

November 30, 2021


Somesh Sharma has over two decades years of post-PhD experience in pharma and contract research organizations. He has shared indepth understanding of his organization’s growth and sustainability journey, covid learnings, and such key points.

Learning from Covid

Covid-19 has brought lot of disruptions to normal life and economy of various countries, but in contrary it has given us an opportunity to think differently, unleash hidden potentials and become self-reliant for unprecedent circumstances. Many businesses have already proven the saying ‘never waste a crises’ to build new opportunities for their growth and sustainability. Before Covid-19, there used to be a dependency on healthcare products and PPE, however, Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative has paved the way of self sustenance and independence.

Organizations are recognizing the value of sustainability as a corporate strategical priority and leading to restructure company’s fundamental approach to meet business wellness and expansion plans. The sustainability of any business requires stable skilled work force, and recent trend of employee’s resignations have given a wake-up call to re-think employee engagements. There are few basic things which need to be re-looked and reassessed:

Learning and Development: Covid has created an environment of virtual learning to keep the pace of employees learning and education on new areas, however, organization with less agility in adapting these technologies has faulted on skill development. For success of L&D programs, it is important to create and cultivate the culture of learning at all levels, bring more engagements and connectivity within the organization, and also cultivate an environment of reskilling. It is imperative for any organization to be future-ready and learning mindsets will create a value today and in long term for business sustainability.

Flexible work hours: There is a mindset shift in employers’ approach to employees, wherein, WFH became a normal process of operations during pandemic time. With improvement of pandemic situation, the employees are still seeking the same flexibility and privilege to bring work life balance. To address this concern, the proper communication becomes a critical factor to make employees aware of existential purpose of organization and connect to them with more opportunities for development. Hybrid working model is an initiative to bring work-life harmony and nurturing the culture of empowerment and trust.

Organization health: Business growth is directly proportional to employee satisfaction and engagement levels. There are organizations who have given equal weightage to organization health index to P&L analysis, and created paths for leadership to bring cohesiveness and belongingness to team. They have built the culture of innovation and learning environment, open communication, sharing and caring, feedforward and feedback loop mechanism, and making sure to construct a kind and warm culture with shared vision.

There was a huge interruption in supply chain during the Covid time. Every organization wanted to start their operations as soon as possible to meet customer demands, however, it was impeded due to lack of coordination, cooperation and integration of business activities. This situation pushed organization to reevaluate their supply chain strategy to avoid any future derailments. The following corrective steps helped organization to regain their position.

Localization of suppliers – Material supply was harnessed with development and engagement of local suppliers.

MSME – Build strong relationship with enterprises for continuity of business and provide necessary credit support for their existence.

Secure Logistics – Proactive planning with partners on mode of transport. Collaborate and consolidate material supply to leverage freight capacity.

Inventory assessment – Assess customer demand to manage material inventory, back integrate for stable supplies, optimize production and distribution capacity.

To further strengthen resilience of supply chain, it is pertinent to identify potential vulnerable drivers and digitize supply chain operations to improve predictability, accuracy, speed and flexibility of risk management. Beyond this, Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) is gaining lot of focus to assess material risk, improve compliance, reduce carbon footprints and maintain sustainable supplies for investment and growth opportunities.

Future trends that will drive the growth of pharma industry

Great attrition has pushed organization to reimagine talent pool and understand the potential skill gaps for future readiness – develop a skill based learning strategy, build infrastructure for skill development and capability build-up, reformat job orientation programs and bring a personal commitment for employees’ rejuvenation and well-being.

Talent accessibility can’t deter pharma companies to prepare themselves for unforeseen challenges, their inquisitiveness to address human health leads to development of new modalities.

Artificial Intelligence – The usage of AL and ML learning tools is becoming more popular for better predictability and outcome in drug discovery and development programs. The applicability of these tools in identifying the right molecule for synthesis, best way of synthesis and selecting the right parameters for optimized process is already providing benefits in reducing entire discovery and development process by 3-5years. With more advancement in algorithms, these tools can certainly expedite entire R&D cycle.

Data analytics – Huge data is available throughout the drug discovery and development that need to be assembled for proper analysis to derive valuable information. This requires high computing systems to build valuable assets on predictive models, diagnostic and descriptive analysis.

Automation – Technology intervention can bring efficiency in most of the mundane processes to improve speed, performance, quality, compliance, and safety. The application of automation in discovery and manufacturing will bring more transparency, productivity, resilience, flexibility and cost effectiveness.

Digitization – An important step for sustainability, accessibility and transparency for business operations. Virtual meetings, remote access of instruments, loT enabled shop floors and augmented reality are steps towards digital transformation. Blockchain technology secures the information flow in pharma ecosystem.

Digital Therapeutics – Evidence based therapeutic interventions are getting more visibility to predict physical, mental and behavior patterns. There are many companies who have already taken a big leap in this direction – Cognivive to treat neurocognitive and neuromotor impairments, Dopavision to arrest myopia progression.

Emerging areas and new business opportunities

Covid has given testing time to human endurance, tenacity, and nimbleness. The companies who’re agile, adaptive and resilient have responded positively to take next challenges and opportunities. The pandemic has defied to reconsider manufacturing & supply chains processes, improve predictability on disease management and bring relevance to future needs of human health. There are few pharma trends which are going to be dominant and derive attention in future.

Quantum computing (QC) – This field will play a profound role in drug discovery and development. These are powerful tools in comparison to traditional computational system and will provide better predictions on translation of molecular profiles from Hit to lead stage. Protein protein interactions (PPI) can be studied in conjunction with designed molecules in a virtual biological environment. QC ability to predict, simulating structural property and interactions with proteins, development of new product formulations can change the dynamics of drug development process.

Gene Therapies – Gene editing technologies (CRISPR, CAR-T) modulates the disease by repairing or reconstructing defective genetic material. It has played a pivotal role in managing various diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, fibrosis. Recent time has seen lot of acquisition and collaboration in this field to meet unmet medical needs.

mRNA technologies – mRNA based technologies has emerged as a promising therapeutic interventions to treat various diseases as an alternative to conventional vaccine approaches. However, to have better translation to in vivo, mRNA requires efficient and stable delivery systems which has resulted in enhanced interest in lipid delivery systems.

Tech enhancement in manufacturing – To provide affordable medicines, GMP requires overhaul of their processes, technologies like PAT, QbD, PSM, process intensification need to be incorporated as a part of development process to reduce risk and overall manufacturing costs. Technological enhancement should become part of agile response to rapidly changing regulatory framework.

Industry 4.0 will gain more significance for digital initiative and interconnecting manufacturing and distribution network.

M&A: Market will witness high propensity of collaborative and partnership engagements to mitigate the risk and expand the product portfolio to strengthen their position. According to industry experts, post pandemic will see surge in M&A to build niche capabilities and expertise to meet unusual market demands.

There will always be a continuous desire to improve human wellness through early detection and prevention tools, customized treatment, and precision interventions like robotic, nanotechnologies etc. It will be further substantiated with digital transformations and loT enabled services for data analytics for a meaningful informed decision. The focus of healthcare should always be on innovation, operational excellence, affordability, and sustainability.

Source: PharmaBio World