A pharmaceuticals organisation, specialising in the development of plant-based cannabinoid therapies used to treat spasticity in Multiple Sclerosis and treatment-resistant epilepsy has implemented Vuealta’s Demand Planning Application to support its business growth and expansion.
When the global pharmaceutical company’s Demand Planning Senior Manager, joined the company, there was limited forecast and demand planning functionality in place, with a system based largely on Microsoft Excel. But with both a growing product portfolio and market reach, (its products are currently approved in and distributed to 38 countries worldwide), the pharmaceutical firm needed a more sophisticated approach to demand planning to support further product launches and expansion into new territories. The Demand Planning team saw an opportunity to transform the perception and role that demand planning played within the wider organisation, making it central to strategic decision making.
“Our core business focus is on launching new products and we manage a typical S&OP process involving data input from multiple stakeholders in finance, marketing and supply planning. Previously, with every new product, we were receiving different types of files from different countries in different formats. If we were asked to present the global forecast for a certain product, it was very difficult to get a full picture with the various sources of information we had to pull together. We needed a single version of the truth and a central place to record all this information to be able to plan more effectively.”
Introducing the demand planning cycle
After learning of the Anaplan platform, the company chose to partner with Vuealta and deploy its Demand Planning application. The pre-configured application – which is built on top of the Anaplan platform – provides an end-to-end solution for demand planning, including product and customer lifecycle management; demand simulation and statistical analysis to improve forecast and demand planning accuracy.
The Senior Demand Planner working on the project commented, “We were really impressed with the project deployment and how Vuealta’s consultants supported us throughout the process. They took the time to listen to what we needed and understand how our business worked, and as a result, we have a demand planning solution that is configured entirely to meet our needs. We can use many of the pre-built features as they are, and any tweaks requested have been made quickly and easily. We’ve worked together well as a project team, despite the difficulties that Covid-19 and remote working presented!
Making demand planning a core strategic business function
One of the key features that the company is making use of is the Consensus Planning feature, which has made it far easier to share information in real-time with its marketing team. “We are now able to have a meeting and see all the information up on a single screen, with any updates that we input into the system showing us what the new forecast looks like immediately. Being able to show the team the right data in one central place has helped add a sense of professionalism to the whole function of demand planning, and ensures the insights I share are fed into strategic decisions for the wider business. It’s much easier to get buy-in from senior management if you’ve got the back-up of a proper system, which is why the Consensus Planning feature within the application is so critical to my work.
The Temporary Product and Customer, and Product and Customer Chaining features have enabled the team to combine different product codes and get a full view of demand. “Quite often for our drugs we run an early access programme whereby we supply the product to patients on a trial basis before we start to commercialise the product. There are two different codes supplied for the two different routes and being able to bring this data together in the app gives us clear visibility of forecast and demand for that one product on both programmes in all countries.”
Freeing up time to focus on strategic growth
Where previously it would have taken considerable time to consolidate data from multiple sources and build new models to forecast, the use of Vuealta’s Demand Planning applications has freed up more time to focus on more complex, strategic tasks. “We can now input forecast against multiple countries where products have not yet launched to get a clear idea of what that means for demand in five to ten years’ time. That insight is then fed directly back to both our manufacturing facility to inform production decisions and senior management for future planning.”
While this particular pharmaceuticals orgnisation is still relatively early in its demand planning implementation, the team are already thinking ahead to the future. “We’re currently in the process of looking for our next ERP system and the key criteria is to find a solution that integrates seamlessly with our demand planning function. It is integral to our work and the ability to accurately forecast demand for our future business as we continue to grow and move into new markets.”