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Case Studies - Supply Chain

Case History

An European Marketing Organization of a Multinational Pharmaceutical Company sells Medicines to the hospital sector through a variety of Pharmaceutical Wholesalers. The company enters into direct agreements with hospitals or consortia of hospitals in a region to agree to use a certain volume of products over a 12-month period in return for an agreed percentage discount. The wholesalers are then notified by the company about the correct discount to charge the hospital for the medicine that is then delivered as per demand from that hospital over the period of the agreement.

Business Challenge

Paper-based agreements of such a magnitude are difficult to manage. What adds to the complexity is that all these agreements are made at different prices. Thus a typical hospital would be able to purchase the same drug at different prices, depending on which agreement they were referring to. In addition to the inefficiencies it brought into the purchasing process, it also made useless, any analysis of sales data for strategy formulation. It was often difficult to analyse the data on purchase of a particular drug to a particular hospital, since purchases were logged in under many different agreements.

Until now an intermediary organization, made such information available to wholesalers from the individual hospital purchasing points. This raw data is linked to the relevant hospital and stored in a Data Warehouse. Multiple contact points made it difficult to integrate multiple transactions and present a single point of contact to the customer. The end result was a confused customer and confused marketing team.

In addition to this, there were other issues that the sales force needed to address. Often proper information regarding new drug releases and availability of existing drugs was not going to the customers accurately or sufficiently early. Could the supply chain solution that Stylus created help meet the need to keep the customers informed on the latest changes in the product line, while also providing, in a low cost manner, a way to get customer feedback on these changes?

A pharmaceutical company needs to collect data from millions of people and use this information effectively to produce better and more affordable drugs. Building an electronic infrastructure that will enable this company to compile all this data is a major challenge because of the variety of Sources, Formats and Complexity of the information that pharmaceutical companies must handle.

ROI – Return on Information

Based on the study of the requirements, the customer's IT specialists and Stylus designers, came up with an on-line account management system for hospitals on a password-protected website. This extranet would provide a way to allow purchasers to view account information at different levels depending on the level of the agreement held with the company. This kind of a service would make entering into an agreement with the company more attractive and elevate them as an organization, in addition to providing the company with a competitive advantage and thus drive sales. A portal technology that aggregated customer touch-points and inaugurated a value chain that had an immediate effect on customer retention and ROI.

Expected benefits: Streamlining and integrating the supply chain


The data collected by the information intermediary is collected in the data warehouse and stored there. This data was extracted and transferred on to the extranet for use by their entire retailer network. Our technical team at Stylus developed this solution for them by extracting the information from their data warehouse and then exporting it to the web in a secure manner.

In effect, what Propelsys did was to help combine their services and their retailer network using the power of the internet to aggregate and share data. Such a wealth of information available online allows for Dynamic User Interaction. Participants in the supply chain could then work more effectively towards improving their key services.

The site displays 3 levels of agreement information. Information that each user sees is personalized, depending on the role he plays within the network. Level 1 provides an overview of each agreement; its status and whether all products covered under the agreement are performing on target. Drilling down from Level 1 to Level 2 provides a product list relating to the agreement and details like the Brand Name, Pack Size, Target Volumes and Performance Percentages etc. Level 3 allows the user to view the historical data about the agreement and also identify a sub-account and it's performance in relation to the commitment made at the beginning of the agreement period.

Access to data in real time: From paper to the Web

What the new extranet has on offer:

In short, web enabling their database helped them build a comprehensive resource and support site that enabled a real-time tracking of all their supplier and distributor networks that form a part of their global infrastructure.

In short, Stylus helped deploy a cost-saving and revenue enhancement strategy that effectively integrated the company's institutional buyer network and made all their transactions transparent, thus saving millions and simultaneously improving customer service and reducing inventories.


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