Insights / Customer stories

How Allergan implemented a real-time monitoring solution

Recommendations on implementing a real-time monitoring solution throughout the global pharmaceutical supply chain with Tommy Jennings, Associate Director at Allergan Pharmaceuticals in Ireland.

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Q:  What are the added benefits of using a real-time solution?

A: Having on-demand visibility of shipments enhances compliance, patient safety, data, and analysis. We now also have almost total visibility and there are almost no blind spots. With a standard USB logger, assumptions must always be made.

The device is great, but what every company is looking for is the data. It helps you make quick decisions, for example, which route to take and which airports to avoid. It also helps us identify areas for improvement in our temperature-controlled supply chain and ultimately reduces risks. When using other devices, retrieving data is always onerous. For example, if you have a regulatory audit and need to provide data, it might be with QA on the other side of the world. Now myself and other stakeholders have access to all shipment data at our fingertips.

Q: What advice can you provide to other companies considering a real-time solution about getting buy-in from stakeholders?

A:  Talk to companies who are already using and implementing the considered solutions and who are further along this journey than you are. We looked at many providers and spoke with our colleagues in the industry. We asked them how far they were on the journey and what to watch out for. It's important to bring your stakeholders to as many meetings as possible so they hear it directly. We also encouraged an open dialogue and didn't prevent anyone from talking to Controlant during that phase or the trial phase. In the end, the decision was made by the stakeholders themselves and I had them coming to me saying they wanted this solution.

Q: How have you been implementing the solution?

A:  It has been a phased roll-out starting from manufacturing sites to one receiving region at a time. We are deliberately rolling this out slowly by breaking it into manageable pieces.

Q: How closely have you been working with the solution provider's team?

A:  It has been a massive collaboration. I have been leading the project and have been working very closely with Controlant's team on the roll-out. All sites and stakeholders are invited to join weekly calls to discuss their challenges. We brought Controlant in early, told them everything they needed to know, and introduced them to key stakeholders to promote direct communication. 

Q: Do you have any success stories to share?

A:  The largest saved load happened during the trial phase with a product launch shipment going to China. Our own internal project team was tracking this shipment and were able to see it going out of range. We only experienced a minor excursion and were able to save products worth approximately $50 million.

Q: Any final thoughts?

A:  Change is difficult, and moving away from the tried and trusted is always tough. We're dealing with pharmaceuticals that save or enhance people's lives. It has to be done in a measured approach, and this was it for us. 

This Q&A was originally featured in the 2019 LogiPharma benchmark report, Increasing Visibility with Real-Time Data.