Drug Maker Fixes Supply Chain With Social Tools

Ratiopharm Canada and its new parent company see improvements in service levels and manufacturing cycle times.

A few years ago, IT officials at pharmaceutical company Ratiopharm Canada turned to collaboration and Web 2.0 tools in an effort to fix a supply chain that was in constant crisis mode.

The company had been finding it increasingly difficult to react to changes in demand for its generic drugs. At times, the company's supply chain unit could be unaware for up to four months that manufacturing snafus or quality control issues were causing slowdowns.

IT officials at Ratiopharm, which was acquired by rival Teva Pharmaceutical Industries for $2.5 billion last year, determined at the time that better internal communication could solve at least some of the problems, said Antonio Martins, who was then Ratiopharm's vice president of supply chain.

The company decided to use Web 2.0 and social collaboration tools to help employees share information more efficiently. It initially used Microsoft's SharePoint, and later turned to collaboration tools from Strategy-Nets and then software from enterprise social networking firm Moxie Software.

The strategy worked, not only fixing the supply-chain problems but also improving service levels and, according to Martins, saving jobs during the recession.

The supply chain team is now using social tools and the expertise it has acquired over the past several years to similarly improve proc-esses at Teva Canada, said Martins, now Teva Canada's vice president of supply chain.

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