TEVA Pharmaceuticals enhances communication through social media, sees supply chain improvements

Kathryn    February 20, 2012

Organization: TEVA Pharmaceuticals

Industry: Pharmaceutical manufacturing

Web References:

Youtube Webcast:

Description of how social media is used for supply chain management:

In the volatile pharmaceutical market, it is difficult to predict product demand. With a typical industry supply chain cycle of about 6 months from raw materials to manufacturing to the store shelf, drug shortages can occur as a result of an unresponsive supply chain.

TEVA Pharmaceuticals has recognized that the speed of supply chain is about people talking to people, and has harnessed the power of social media to enhance communication between internal functional groups. This has resulted in “spontaneous association”, which Tony Martins, VP of Supply Chain at TEVA Canada (a subsidiary of TEVA Pharmaceuticals) explains in an Enterprise 2.0 webcast as “the capacity that a group of individuals of multiple skills have to spontaneously combine their skills to respond to a problem without being directed”. Implementing Microsoft Sharepoint, Strategy-Nets, and Moxie Software (real-time conversations, blogs, wikis and sharing documents) enabled employees to post operational problems and seek input and solutions from co-workers, even if those co-workers were geographically distant.

The results:

–          reduced manufacturing cycle time by 40 percent in four months

–          improved lead time from upstream suppliers by as much as 60 percent

–          exceeded 95% service level (fulfilling orders on time)

Lessons for Others:

–           A dynamic supply chain of rapid response to crisis needs people talking to people (not systems talking to systems); social media communication tools give individuals the ability to react spontaneously to a crisis and keep response times short.

–           Social media tools, like blogs, can be more effective in encouraging collaboration and idea sharing than getting employees to attend and participate in meetings.

–          Discussion happens through social media in real-time, resulting in increased efficiency when problems are solved quickly and with simultaneous input from several functional groups.

–          Start with social media communication internally, then roll out to improve communication with external suppliers to further reduce supply chain response time.

Submitted By: Kathryn Fedy

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