How Cipla is creating a strategic approach for automation and digitizationThe pandemic has made it imperative for organisations to become more agile and responsive to the new normal in the short and long term. To face this dynamic situation, Cipla is embarking on a strategic ‘Reimagination’ journey, led by the digital transformation of their value chain across functions, including Finance, R&D, Manufacturing, Supply Chain, HR, Customer Outreach and Stakeholder Engagement.

“In FY 21-22, our strong economic engine will enhance our capabilities and digital evolution will fuel our passion for patient care. We will continue to allocate capital towards enriching our capabilities across the portfolio and digital technology platforms to enable the patient care continuum,” Kedar Upadhye, President & Global CFO, Cipla said.

Upadhye further highlighted some of the initiatives that they have undertaken under this re-imagination exercise, which is helping the company achieve top industry position in terms of quality, cost, productivity and service levels.

Increased digital outreach for Channel and Customer

During the year, Cipla acquired a 21.8 percent stake in GoApptiv, which offers digital solutions for integrated brand and sales management, patient support and healthcare data analytics. This partnership will widen their reach of the key brands in tier 3 towns in India

Around 600 Cipla branded COVID-19 compliant clinics in emerging markets encouraged doctors to get back to clinics, while adhering to safety guidelines.

Automation and Market Alignment

The adoption of Industry 4.0 and automation is enabling a revolution in manufacturing, with pharmaceutical companies globally adopting technologies such as Digital, Robotics, augmented, virtual mixed reality with great success.

At Cipla, over the past few years, the company has set up several foundational elements to drive the company’s digitisation and automation plans. At the primary level, they have installed sensors on most equipment that enables them to capture and process data.

The next step would be ‘smart sensorisation’ of key equipment and utilities to further enhance process capability and effectively monitor organisatinal energy and water footprint.

In terms of operating technology, they have begun structuring and storing data through implementation of systems such as supervisory control and data acquisition, distributed control system, etc. Furthermore, the company is also in the process of moving to a best-practice data-lake that will help them to efficiently manage and process the extensive amount of data.

“Our aspiration is to create plants of the future in a digitally native organisation that will transform the lives of our people and all our stakeholders. The new journey that started with the adoption of cloud-for business systems will be expanded to manufacturing and operating technology data in a scalable manner,” he adds.

Paper-less, touch-less, automated quality labs, automation of this process has minimized the scope for errors, increasing throughput and reducing quality release turnaround timelines.

Strengthening Core Functions and Building Agility

In order to build resilient operations, the company has been diversifying sources for critical APIs, Intermediates and KSMs as well as maintaining adequate inventory levels.

De-risking manufacturing and superior internal coordination for maintaining optimum serviceability and strong cost-discipline and optimised spends, prudent management of working capital and liquidity has helped in building agility in operations.

“To create new R&D capability, we have competency building programmes to certify analysts in best-in-class practices. Along with that, we have spent around 6,800 hours upskilling R&D colleagues on the International Council for Harmonisation guidelines through the mobile application ‘RegSquare’,” Upadhye says.

With a user-friendly virtual information platform i.e. Cipla Regulatory Intelligence Shared Portal (CRISP), they have also improved regulatory intelligence amongst our R&D colleagues.

Supply Chain

Talking about creating an end-to-end visibility of the supply chain, Upadhye reveals that they have adopted an integrated business planning, a cloud based platform. The platform is integrated with the company’s core SAP system and provides end-to-end visibility of the supply chain planning process. The platform’s advanced functionalities like simulations, scenario-based planning and optimised demand and supply views have helped their experts free up time to focus on critical analysis and execution. This has led to more effective demand and supply planning and ensures reliable supply commitments.

Blockchain-enabled tracking system

Moreover, Cipla is developing a blockchain ledger based workflow management for track and trace involving Cipla depots, stockists and hospitals. The pilot is being executed on an in-licensed portfolio in India starting with Actemra and it shall be expanded to complete in-licensed portfolio in future.

“We are in the midst of a fairly ambitious program in operations to build touchless factories and build delight for the patients and customers through higher serviceability. We aim to create multiple dimensions of automated equipment, data-driver decision making and performance enhancements and creating digitally native organization with at-scale digital analytics capabilities,” he added.





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