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Pharma and Medical Device Companies share their experiences with transforming their operations with digital platforms like Tulip.

Question: At a high level how do you go about digital adoption in your company?

As we transition to the new paradigm that’s called industry 4.0 or pharma 4.0, adopting new digital technologies is not necessarily easy because they involve a mindset shift. Here is how GSK went about doing that.


(Patrick Hyett, GSK) We believed that showing the art of the possible was a really good way of accelerating the adoption of new technologies, as well as getting people to think about how to innovate and do so responsibly.

So as a first step, we set up a lab in our organization in three main locations. One in Hartford, one in Singapore, and a virtual lab in Philadelphia. The purpose of these labs was to test new digital technologies and iterate on ideas in a safe environment. In addition, it served as a model for senior leaders to understand and appreciate what an integrated digital factory/lab and an integrated supply chain would look like.

Once we were all set up, we incubated ideas by granting people funds to experiment with our business challenges in mind. And then we went through a process of figuring out the best way to industrialize, which was a key part of creating value propositions for business use cases, and then accelerating them into the product teams within the tech organization.

What we found highly valuable in our process of digital adoption was the early support from tech organizations that helped us conduct proof-of-value studies, and turn those into viable processes of industrialization.

Question: What methods do you use to evaluate technology?

Rey from Johnson & Johnson chimes in on what methods he has personally used to evaluate whether a technology is viable.


(Rey Medina, Johnson & Johnson) We have a multistep process we move through very quickly. We start with scouting the marketplace, looking at potential use cases or technologies that might transform our supply chain. Then we source. For some of those technologies, we’ll do a rapid evaluation of the technical capabilities and the architectural fit for Johnson and Johnson. After that, we move into the test phase, which is intended to be a very small scale rapid test. If the opportunity allows for it, we’ll do testing in a laboratory environment or at one of our primary technology incubation sites, called lighthouse sights. If that’s successful, and we see that there’s a business benefit for that technology, then we’ll move it into scale, or do a first line implementation at a manufacturing site.

Those first three steps are intended to happen in a matter of weeks, so we’re not talking about long, technology evaluation processes, but a quick, short one. That allows us to evaluate and test various technologies in a particular space.

Question: What makes a technology mature enough to go to scale?

Here is David Holt from FactoryTalk on what makes technology mature enough that you can go and scale-up.


(David Holt, FactoryTalk) One of the first things you need to observe are the people, the actual end-users that engage with the technology. Once you understand who the users are, you then bring the enthusiasm to actually push it to a scale that can pick up some momentum. However, the end-users have to see enough benefit in the technology to push it through. This drive-in momentum needs to happen at the stage of proofs-of-concept or proof-of-value.

Once you get to the maturity part, you do need to have a supplier that has a QMS system that has enough enterprise controls to keep the IT team happy and make sure that you can actually wrap some electronic control around the governance, especially zero code apps. Once you’ve lit the fire, you then need to make sure you’re able to answer questions that come from top-down and put the framework in place to allow the technology to scale.

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