Eisai Inc.

The challenge: The Japan-based pharmaceutical company, which devotes approximately 22 percent of its worldwide revenue to R&D, was facing the patent expiration of two of its blockbuster drugs. Since the industry concedes that the era of the blockbuster is over, Eisai executives wanted to ensure an alternative approach to getting drugs into its pipeline. It also wanted to be ready for landscape-changing trends including an increased emphasis on global sales, heightened regulatory pressures, and pricing concerns. Executives acknowledged that its traditional management and continuous-improvement processes were no longer adequate to meet future business needs. In short, the company needed to transform its production and supply organizations into more market-savvy organizations.

How CIMS made a difference: CIMS leaders devised a three-module program designed to prepare product supply leaders to be able to define, plan and lead a set of lasting step-function improvements to the organization’s cost structure and to the value it delivers to its customers. In the first module, 26 participants from the company were helped to understand the compelling need for change and to identify eight industry drivers that would define the business going forward. The next module involved a serious look at the company’s business model in terms of capabilities and key outcomes, including prioritizing step-function changes or innovative areas. The goal: For patient value to go up and costs to come down.

The final module focused on building a culture of innovation, with CIMS team leaders helping the Eisai managers identify company behaviors that could either help or hinder innovation and serve as coaches to help employees become receptive to the concept of across-the-board, organic innovation.

The results: Executives have begun to systematize four innovation concepts identified during the training: Idea Management, which is in a pilot phase at the company’s Research Triangle Park facility; Customer Connectivity; Patient Connectivity; and Boundary Spanning. Team leaders identified boundary spanners who performed that function without it being an explicit part of their assigned roles. One of the outcomes from this is that Eisai is now incorporating formal boundary spanning into all its leadership objectives because it recognizes that boundary spanning, both internal and external to the company, is critical for innovation.

In addition to keeping its change opportunities and innovation systems moving forward, executives are addressing the culture and communication aspects at regular meetings and asking each leader to share the information within his/her own organization. Progress in these areas is checked monthly by a Product Supply Leadership Team. The team also is developing a 3-5-year plan to transform Eisai’s production and supply operations into a more market-savvy organization ready to face challenges and exploit new opportunities.

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