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Lucy Chard
27 Jan 2023

CPHI Pharma Award Winners 2022: Supply Chain, Logistics, and Distribution – HCLTech

Joseph Laraichi, Director, EU Lead for Life Sciences and Healthcare IoT, HCLTech, accepts the Award on behalf of the team at CPHI Frankfurt

In this series of interviews, we speak to the teams behind the winning concepts at CPHI Pharma Awards 2022, in each of the different categories, from digital innovation to CEO of the year. 

The winner of the category for Supply Chain, Logistics, and Distribution this year was HCLTech, with their Smart Consignment Inventory Management (SCIM) solution. In this interview we spoke to Arifur Deepu and Sukant Acharya. 

Sukant Acharya, Executive Vice President, Global Head for IoT and Industry NeXT, HCLTech
Sukant Acharya is the Executive Vice President and Global Head for IoT and Industry NeXT business at HCLTech. With a career spanning 25+ years, Sukant has assumed multiple leadership roles across companies in management consulting, outsourcing, and several core industries. 

Sukant brings a 360-degree perspective to help global organisations navigate and lead the digital wave and the connected industry imperatives. Sukant’s contribution to the business world has revolved around sponsoring and nurturing emergent technology-led business transformation areas like Digital, Analytics, Cloud, Edge, IoT, IIoT, 5G, Smart Products, Intelligent Operations, Smart space, and Industry 4.0. His experience extends across fostering global businesses and co-creating value with clients, partners, and the supplier ecosystem. He has extensively worked in sponsoring, advising, developing, and delivering on digitally enabled business transformation, innovation, and operational improvement programs. 

Sukant is a participant in various industry and thought leadership forums as a keynote speaker and contributor on innovation, transformation, and leadership themes.

Arifur Deepu, Vice President, Global Head for Life Sciences and Healthcare IoT, HCLTech
Arifur Deepu leads the Life Sciences and Healthcare verticals globally at IoT WoRKSTM, the dedicated Internet of Things (IoT) business unit of HCLTech. He is responsible for driving the overall IoT and digital transformation business, strategy, and thought leadership, in the areas of clinical R&D, digital manufacturing, supply chain automation, commercial operations, and value-based care delivery enablement across the patient care continuum.

Arifur is a seasoned industry leader with 25+of Clinical R&D experience, where he is enabling industry-wide business model transformation by adopting innovative methods to deliver high-quality treatments to patients. 

Firstly, can you tell us a little more about HCLTech and your key priorities for the year ahead? – Sukant and Arifur

HCLTech is a global technology company, home to 219,000+ people across 54 countries, delivering industry-leading capabilities centred around digital, engineering, and cloud, powered by a broad portfolio of technology services and products. We work with clients to supercharge progress across all industry verticals.  

In the area of Life Sciences, Healthcare, and Medical Technology, HCLTech is focused on helping our customers transform the way therapies are brought to market with HCLTech’s unique Industry NeXT framework.
•    Our Smart Lab offering powered by asset management solution DECoDe, brings digital transformation to the Pharma labs, which improves the utilisation and visibility of lab equipment as well as how data is managed, which streamlines the overall compound discovery process
•    Decentralized Clinical Trials solution enables patients to participate in clinical trials remotely thereby reducing their burden of participation, increasing potential patient population, and enabling faster market entry
•    Extended Reality (XR) solution enables immersive patient and field services training leveraging AR/VR capabilities to improve the training experience
•    Smart Integrated Operations (SIO) offering ensures seamless and reliable operations at scale for managing IT, device, field, and business operations around the customer’s connected products
•    Intelligent Asset Tracking and Management (IATM) aims to enhance asset on-boarding, transform inventory auditing processes, and improve asset visibility through location tracking and monitoring of environmentally sensitive products via Cold Chain 
•    Our Industry NeXT framework builds on the Industry 4.0 foundation to empower businesses to transcend to the next era of connected ecosystems to become adaptive, resilient, and future-proof
•    HCLTech’s Smart Quality solution EQuIP increases business trust by improving quality and reliability of data with no coding required. By reducing the time and cost required to identify poor data quality, data can be viewed as an enterprise asset.

This year, you won the CPHI Pharma Awards for Supply Chain, Logistics, and Distribution, can you tell us more about the winning solution? – Arifur

Smart Consignment Inventory Management (SCIM) is an IATM (Intelligent Asset Tracking and Management) based inventory management and first-of-its-kind, IoT-led solution for medical devices, consumables, surgical items, and kits. The solution provides end-to-end visibility with logs and timestamps from the consignor’s manufacturing facility through to the point of care using First Expiry First Out (FEFO) inventory methodology. This is delivered via a detailed location specific or consolidated view of consigned inventory across all consignment locations. By providing real-time information, consignors realise improved auditing and inventory reconciliation as well as 
reduce the risk of using an expired product for a medical procedure. This is done by enabling consignor staff to identify and remove expired products from the consignee location.

By offering seamless and native integrations with ERPs, CRMs, and various EHR and EMR systems, we can offer benefits to both consignors and consignees. These benefits range from improved resource utilisation and inventory visualisation, reduction in product expiration, and improved charge capture at the point of care.

The Consignment Inventory Management (CIM) powered by IATM tracks the whole supply chain from end-to-end, can you please explain the importance of this in terms of the end consumer? – Arifur

For the end consumer, the information generated in this solution enables improvement in the management of inventory at individual consigned locations. This reduces the risk of stockouts, while at the same time enabling the consumption information across all locations to be used as input into the Pharma/Med Tech company’s demand planning. This allows for improved overall supply chain management and ensures the right products are at the right locations to care for their patients with tremendous cost savings due to an integrated inventory and supply chain management framework.  

The system also encourages more sustainable practices in the supply chain, what more do you think we need from the pharma industry as a whole to improve sustainability? – Sukant and Arifur

As a company, HCLTech is deeply focused on accelerating our Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) agenda. We are also creating technology-enabled sustainable solutions with and for our clients and partners. We embed ESG imperatives into every aspect of our business and ensure that the progress we supercharge is responsible, inclusive, and beneficial to all our stakeholders in the long term. We have committed to achieving net zero by 2040.

Pharma Industry witnessed huge disruption in the procurement and distribution side during the pandemic years. It was also confronted with supply chain visibility issues and supplier consolidation matters. Initiatives like supply chain digital twin and supply chain control tower can bring better solutions to achieve governance in the pharma industry. This enhanced governance will positively impact the ESG agenda of pharma sector.

Cold Chain Logistics, E Commerce Logistics, 4 PL Logistics, Warehousing and Distribution initiative can be connected under this better governance structure, which will positively impact the ESG agenda.

The Pharma industry has begun to adopt a similar approach and is creating new ways of working that are centred around ESG goals. By taking this approach, which has a long-term net-zero target date, the industry is working to establish milestones towards meeting its target net zero date. This also enhances the ESG agenda of pharma sector.

Our award-winning Net-Zero Intelligent Operations (NIO) solution leverages our expertise around connectivity to IT, OT systems, and smart assets enabling enterprises to collect real-time data around energy consumption, and analytics at scale to deliver actionable insights. The solution enables clients to monitor, assess, and reduce enterprise energy consumption and carbon emissions through its unique inter-comparability and normalisation approach across multiple equipment, processes, and facilities.

How will this product/technology benefit the pharma industry over the coming years? – Arifur

SCIM has benefits the industry will continue to realise for years to come. By enabling real-time tracking of inventory, companies see improved production planning and management of remote inventory. This enables a reduction in both stockouts and product expiry as well as improved productivity for both consignors and consignees by simplifying the management of the remote inventory.   

Key features of the SCIM solution include:

Intelligent Real-Time Tracking

•    End-to-end visibility enables better production planning and dispatch routing
•    Reduction of overstocking and stock-outs
Higher Employee Productivity    

•    Automation in audit in the reconciliation process helps free up sales rep time for other critical tasks
•    Improved accuracy of data
Reduced Conflicts & Cost Optimisation

•    Single source of truth of consumed inventory for invoicing
•    Enable better planning and scheduling of medical tasks for the client (consignor) personnel
Enhanced Regulatory Compliance    

•    Significantly reduce wastage by the expiry of perishable, toxic, or costly-to-recycle products 
•    Help reduce the cost of recycling and disposal
Optimal Visibility & Reduction in Loss/ Theft/Misplacements    

•    Custody management of the products through secure access control
•    Ensures timely availability of the products
•    Anytime Anywhere inventory volume visibility.

What does winning the award mean to you and what will it do for you as a company? – Sukant

HCLTech is committed to supercharging progress for our pharma industry customers. We are humbled and honoured to win the CPHI Pharma Award, and it validates all the hard work our teams put into developing future-focused solutions for our customers. Leveraging IoT, the SCIM solution permits hospitals and medical device manufacturers to create get an authentic, singular, and faster visibility of inventory availability and consumption records.

Supply chain costs on average make up for one-third of total hospital expenses. The recurrence of COVID-19, volatile geo-politico conditions, and increasing energy and raw material costs have started to put additional pressure on the pharmaceutical supply chain, which had just started to normalise after the pandemic. With the major production of active pharma ingredients concentrated in Asia, any problems in those regions that affect availability or production will have a global consequence on end-product inventory volumes. In such cases, access real-time and reliable access to information is key to ensuring the continuity of care.

This recognition reinforces our view that we are the partner of choice for the industry in delivering transformative supply chain solutions.

You’ve set the bar high with this, can we expect to keep seeing more innovative work from you in the future? – Sukant

With patient-centricity in mind, HCLTech’s Life Sciences, Healthcare, and Med Tech business is focused on bringing new age solutions to the market to help bring therapies to market faster and better. Whether it’s helping the Life Science and Medical Technology companies bring products to market faster, improve the delivery of care to patients, or enabling an end-to-end data-driven healthcare framework to overcome current challenges in healthcare delivery, we continue to invest in helping our global clients improve the quality of patient care value chain. 

Lucy Chard
Digital Editor - Pharma

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