From the lab to market dominance: how three life sciences companies shaped a new narrative



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In the non-stop world of life sciences, innovation is the catalyst for competitive advantage. 

Following the pandemic, success has, and will continue to be, influenced by the ability to differentiate from competitors and adopt strategies and capabilities to keep up with: 

  • Increase in patient and health care provider demands
  • Market volatility
  • Digital technology advances
  • Shifts in regulatory landscapes

The right processes must now enable businesses to connect planning, visibility, and teams to look ahead and analyze risks and opportunities, to be agile in the face of change and confident in decisions made. 

As part of our ongoing Anaplan Connect event series, we heard from three prominent life sciences companies, Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheim, and Optum, about their approach to innovation and driving competitive advantage.

Navigating early stages

Understanding the unique challenges and requirements of individual markets is crucial and requires collaboration, visibility, and a scalable framework, the core capabilities of Connected Planning.

Bayer partnered with Anaplan on a sales forecasting pilot project in the United States, a critical market for their business as it represents 40% of global turnover in the consumer health industry. By demonstrating success in a significant market, they gained the confidence to expand the initiative and tackle key pain points that empowered relative market leaders to drive change. 

This expansion included developing a forecast simulation model in Latin America, followed by a trade promotion management pilot in the Netherlands and a sales planning solution in the UK. Addressing local needs while adhering to a global framework in these regions allowed Bayer to create a consistent approach while respecting market intricacies. 

Although successful, change isn’t always embraced. Tom Marriage, global digital lead, commercial planning at Bayer, reflects on the importance of bringing people on the journey. He used an approach of:

  • Listening to detractors
  • Understanding concerns
  • Showcasing the tangible benefits [of the new system]

Revolutionizing revenue forecasting

Boehringer Ingelheim embarked on a transformative journey to optimize their gross-to-net forecasting after recognizing the limitations of their traditional process. While they excelled in total portfolio forecasting, forecasting on a product-specific basis proved more challenging.

After implementing the Anaplan platform, the accuracy of the company's revenue forecasts improved dramatically. The incorporation of sophisticated algorithms and analytical tools resulted in more precise predictions.

“We can now do scenario analysis at the click of a button,” says Darin Gillis, VP, human pharma finance. 

The platform has also significantly minimized the need for manual data input and manipulation, resulting in:

  • Considerable time saving across teams 
  • Reduced risk of manual errors

“It’s a closed loop,” says Gillis. “Less human intervention, less opportunity to make mistakes, and more importantly, from a finance person, our internal control and our fiduciary control of what’s going on is much tighter.” 

Shaping a competitive narrative

Prior to adopting their new workforce planning solution, Optum’s capacity planning system consisted of around 900 Excel files. This presented a few issues for the team, namely:

  • Capacity plans were disconnected from each other
  • Files were complex and data heavy
  • Operators and partners found them difficult to understand

By consolidating these capacity plans into one platform, Optum could create aggregated views for their business partners, allowing the organization to transition from data-centric to story-centric workforce planning.

This was a significant shift for Optum, challenging them to reposition themselves as consultants, advisors, and change agents.

“I want really good storytellers that could change the behavior of an operator,” explains Michal Ziolkowski, VP, enterprise workforce optimization. “If I could walk out of a meeting and that operator goes, ‘okay, today I'm going to make these three small changes,’ then that will translate into major changes down the line. That's when we win.”

The life sciences sector stands at the threshold of transformation. It's not only about optimizing processes; it's about empowering a narrative-driven, data-informed future that transcends silos, fosters collaboration, and propels the industry toward ever greater heights.

Learn more about these life sciences Connected Planning journeys by watching their full on-demand Anaplan Connect sessions: 

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