UCB asked Genpact to help make it more efficient in 2009 with the initial focus being the Belgian drugmaker’s accounting systems.
In 2013, the project was extended to the automation of vendor management systems, specifically invoices and orders. The new systems required the adoption of standardized procedures by all UCB divisions as Dirk Philips, UCB Head of Source-to-Pay, explained.
“We implemented standard ways of working across countries for approval flow and for a follow-up process for pending invoices. We also re-designed and implemented PR/PO [purchase requisition, purchase order] policy and eliminated non-value added tasks.”
The project also involved working with suppliers according to Philips who told us “UCB and Genpact worked in collaboration with vendors and suppliers to drive process standardisation and first-time right approach” citing standardised invoices as a key focus.
UCB’s efficiency drive did not cost any suppliers their contracts. Philips said: “The changes were driven in a very collaborative way with customized communication so UCB keeps working with all vendors and suppliers.”
The firm claims to have achieved better visibility – ranging from its ability to track invoices to reduced turnaround time- and saw an increase in regulatory compliance.
Overall the new systems have made the drugmaker’s management of suppliers 20% more efficient according to Philips.
UCB’s desire to improve business processes is not unique. Peter Sheppard, VP of life sciences at Genpact told us issues addressed during the project – which was cited at a recent awards ceremony by consulting group Aecus – are a concern for others in the drug industry.
“Common client needs include increased compliance and visibility coupled with efficient, responsive operations” Sheppard said.