MAKING THE MOST OF INTELLECTUAL CAPITAL: THE KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
Many companies lack first-rate problem-solving and decision-making capabilities because of deficiencies in the way knowledge
is managed, circulated, and executed throughout the company, not because of deficiencies in their personnel. The solution
lies in a cross-functional knowledge management system that delivers critical business, scientific, and operations intelligence
when and where it's needed. Such intelligence should include metrics for quality, risk, manufacturing failures, compliance,
and all of the other key parameters of the operation. An enterprise resource planning (ERP) system should be implemented to
provide instant answers to basic business questions. Superior knowledge management helps integrate functions, facilitates
faster and better decisions, and produces greater return on intellectual capital.
GETTING THE WORD OUT: THE MARKETING SYSTEM
The overwhelming importance of marketing in the life sciences has been generally recognized, but in biotech, the focus should
be widened to include, not only the competitive landscape, but also the reimbursement environment. Reimbursement, of course,
can't begin until product approval, but you shouldn't wait until then to address the issue. As early as Phase 2 of drug development,
the marketing system should be geared up to undertake the advocacy of the innovation across government and private payers
who want to understand the likely business implications, as well as healthcare providers who want to understand the science.
Unfortunately, this early alignment of marketing with securing reimbursement rarely happens, sometimes because the company's
founding scientist or inventor, with great faith in the idea, believes that the rationale for reimbursement will be perfectly
obvious. Companies that make reimbursement an early concern of marketing will achieve product profitability quickly, while
those that don't may find reimbursement lagging by as much as four years from the time the product is approved by the FDA.
GETTING BETTER ALL THE TIME: THE CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT SYSTEM
Because there are so many competing improvement methodologies—from Six Sigma to Lean, Baldrige assessments, ISO 9000, and
more—organizations often get bogged down in unproductive discussions about which to use. Experience shows that the better
approach is to use whichever tool is most appropriate for the problem at hand while integrating all of the tools under the
umbrella of a holistic system for continuous improvement. Such a system should work in all types of processes, functions,
businesses, and cultures. It should provide a common language, tool set, and roadmaps for improvement. Management systems
must be in place to support and guide improvement. Finally, it must address the three key aspects of process management: process
design and redesign, process improvement, and process control.