Insights / News

Onboard to realize zero-waste pharma supply chains

In an interview with the Icelandic daily newspaper Morgunbladid, Søren Skou – the new Chairman of the Board of Controlant – discusses why he decided to join forces with Controlant, what makes him excited about its future, and the challenges and potential that come with growth.


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Highlights from the interview, published 13 March 2024 in Morgunbladid

Corporate, cultural, digital, and green transformation at Maersk

In the interview, Søren sheds light on his extensive career with A.P. Møller – Mærsk, which spans more than four decades. “I worked my whole career at Maersk, headquartered in Denmark but also working in China and the USA,” he says. “After my retirement as the CEO of Maersk, I moved on to a number of different board roles, including my role at Controlant.”

As CEO of the global shipping leader from 2016 until 2022, Søren led Maersk through a company-wide transformation from a conglomerate consisting of eight divisions, each operating as a standalone company, to a globally integrated logistics provider. The transformation included a corporate, digital, cultural, and green transition. At the end of his tenure, Maersk had a turnover of over $50 billion, with more than 100,000 employees operating across 130 countries. Today, Maersk is a customer-centric, value-driven leader in its field, with most transactions done through its online portal, and on a path to becoming carbon neutral.

Inspired by Controlant’s mission, customers, people, and solutions

“I decided to engage with Controlant for a number of reasons,” says Søren when asked about his transition to board and advisory roles following his tenure at Maersk. “The first reason is what Controlant does—the mission of the company to facilitate more efficient distribution of pharma products, medicines, and vaccines to the world, while avoiding spoilage, reducing waste, and helping their customers achieve better visibility into their supply chains. As the world grows more advanced in terms of the pharma products that are being developed, there is a growing number of products in need of temperature-controlled logistics.”

Søren goes on to list other reasons that convinced him to join Controlant’s board. “The second thing for me is the technology that Controlant has developed. It’s a very interesting data platform that the company has built. Customers are embedding the data and the digital platform into their own systems which results in long-lasting customer relationships.”

His third reason is Controlant’s customer engagement. “I see a lot of customers who are investing their time and effort in Controlant, in co-developing solutions with the company. It’s always good when a customer wants to invest time in improving the product of the supplier, as opposed to just trying to buy a product or a service at the cheapest possible price.”

“Finally, what really got me excited about Controlant is the team, both the leadership team and the many colleagues I have met who are incredibly motivated and engaged.”

There is one additional reason that goes beyond Controlant’s current focus on solving some of the major challenges in pharma supply chains. “If I were to mention a fifth reason, it is really around the potential of the company. If we can solve some of these supply chain issues in pharma, I am confident that we can also solve them in other industries.”

Robust growth of the core business

Reflecting on the time following the COVID-19 pandemic, Søren notes, “Innovation-driven companies that go through rapid growth, as Controlant has done, need to address multiple challenges. For example, how fast the team should grow and how to manage product development. To date, we have done a good job of dealing with the challenges we have faced, and we will continue to do so.”

Saga Card to transform end-to-end visibility in pharma supply chains

Controlant recently announced its latest innovation, Saga Card, a compact, advanced IoT device that will bring unprecedented visibility into the journey of medicines and vaccines, from production to patient, down to unit or asset level.

“What is truly unique about this solution, is the fact that it is credit-card sized which means it can be put into much smaller boxes or units, enabling end-to-end visibility of individual product packages.”

Read the interview (in Icelandic).