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European Biopharmaceutical Review

Optimising the Supply Chain

Faced with thinning drug pipelines, increased competition from generics and declining sales, pharmaceutical companies have spent much of the last decade engaged in a kind of stimulus-response exercise, slashing their sales workforces and cutting administrative budgets to levels that were commensurate with demand.

But increasingly, the industry’s leading executives are realising that these moves not only oversimplify the problem, but cost savings are often short-lived and the same challenges remain. The evolution in strategic planning for these executives is now shifting the focus to more sustainable efficiency gains, the like of which can only be obtained by reassessing cost structures across the entirety of the enterprise.

Amid this transition, the supply chain is attracting unprecedented focus. As the global reach of large integrated pharmaceuticals widens, supply chain management is becoming just as important as tax has been for the industry for years.


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Mark B Hassenplug is a principal in Ernst & Young’s Business Advisory Services practice, and is the Global Pharmaceutical Markets Leader. He has more than 23 years of management consulting and business advisory services experience in the areas of strategic planning, business transformation, supply chain and manufacturing operations, customer relationship management, shared services design and implementation and enterprise resource planning systems implementations. Having conducted engagements for clients in the US, Europe, Africa, Middle East and Asia he has a unique perspective on the global issues that face multinational pharmaceutical corporations.

Kai Gindner is the Leader of the Supply Chain Management Practice in Switzerland at Ernst & Young. He joined the firm in July 2007 after over 10 years in consultancy services at KPMG, BearingPoint and smaller boutique firms. Kai is experienced in leading complex international supply chain strategy and process and transformation programs. He is a speaker at conferences and seminars and publishes articles on supply chain management in the consumer products and life sciences industries. Kai has a Masters of Business Administration from Mannheim University.

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Mark B Hassenplug
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Kai Gindner
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