Publications

The Orbsen Knowledge Letter is published electronically on an occasional basis to interested parties. The material presented is quality content, presented in a concise format, discussing management approaches to a particular competency area. Special Reports on a variety of topics are also produced on an occasional basis.

A complete list of publications follows:

Inventory 2004 : Medical Devices and Diagnostics (KL07) This annual report from Orbsen Consulting is written for supply chain directors. It addresses the top 20 Medical Devices and Diagnostics companies and selected others. It examines the questions of :
• Which corporations have the most inventory?
• Which corporations have the lowest?

• Which corporations have increasing inventories?
• Which are decreasing?
• What is the sector average and how is it moving?
• What is the impact of currency?
• What is the relationship between months of Fiscal Inventory and supply chain velocity?
• What is situation with distribution companies?
• What is the situation in other sectors?
• What does all of this mean? How can supply chain directors create a meaningful theory of how much inventory they should have and what can be done to target an appropriate inventory level? ...back to top of page>

Inventory 2004 : Pharmaceutical Manufacturing and Distribution (KL06) This annual report from Orbsen Consulting is written for supply chain directors. It addresses the top 25 Pharmaceutical/Biopharmaceutical companies and selected others. It examines the questions of :
• Which corporations have the most inventory?
• Which corporations have the lowest?

• Which corporations have increasing inventories?
• Which are decreasing?
• What is the sector average and how is it moving?
• What is the impact of currency?
• What is the relationship between months of Fiscal Inventory and supply chain velocity?
• Is the supply chain inventory any different in generics companies versus discovery companies?
• What is situation with distribution companies?
• What is the situation in Pharmacy?
• What does all of this mean? How can supply chain directors create a meaningful theory of how much inventory they should have and what can be done to target an appropriate inventory level? ...back to top of page>

Strategic Management of Product Cost in Pharmaceutical Operations (KL05) Given the importance of Product Cost to the business of manufacturing operations, it is amazing that directors responsible for supply chain operations do not have a strategic view of cost. Ask the questions what is driving product cost, how will product cost evolve over the next few years and what levers are critical to managing product cost to a target position? Whatever about the response in OTC or generics, the response from Rx Operations is typically unsatisfactory.

This paper addresses the question of strategically managing the evolution of product cost in pharmaceutical operations. It visits the issues of strategic modelling of cost at an individual operation level. It proceeds to comment on absolute cost of waste. Finally the paper examines the importance of conversion cost analysis in pharmaceutical operations and discusses the significance for strategic network design of supply chain operations. ...back to top of page >

Leadership, Management and the lessons of history (KL04). Leadership is an attribute that most organizations wish to value and promote. The promise of leadership is to realize effective change and so achieve a better future for the company. Corporations build statements that aspire to demonstrate leadership in their mission statements, departmental objectives, personal development programmes and individual job scripts. Corporations want managers to be leaders. Business writers and speakers play to this want. The need for leadership today exists in all areas of a company's activities including supply chain, operations, strategy and systems. There are many big questions being asked of directors and managers in these areas, about where to go to next. Such questions clearly challenge the leadership capabilities that exist within corporations.

Of course, opportunities for leadership occur in all walks of life. In taking the long view, history provides a powerful guide as to the possibilities and limits of leadership. This paper looks at the leadership challenges in supply chain and operations, and what history teaches us about the possibilities for leadership. ...back to top of page >

The 10 big things for today's supply chain directors (SR02). What are the 10 big things that every supply chain director should have on their agenda in 2003? This report which presents a summary of the headline agenda's that today's supply chain leaders in Pharmaceuticals, Healthcare and Technology should pursue. The introduction considers what the core tasks of supply chain management are and then looks at some specifics of the relevant firm. The rest of the paper presents the priority agenda's in summary form and indicates the difficulties to be faced in their pursuit. ...back to top of page >

Enterprise Resource Planning in Pharma/Healthcare/Technology (KL03) Enterprise Resource Planning Applications have been around for 20 years and the Healthcare Industry is still spending money on them. A company wide implementation for a large healthcare or pharmaceutical company can cost a $100 million. It is not that healthcare companies can afford to spend $100 million and not make a difference. The problem is that it is getter harder to see the value from such ERP redeployments. The value and rationale is moving further and further away from supply chain, and is either below the floor boards in terms of software architectural advantage, or else sits elsewhere in the enterprise, in HR, Finance or Sales. Moreover the hands-on experiences of a scheduler sitting in a healthcare plant using an ERP system in 2003, is not materially different to that of a scheduler in a technology plant in 1983. And yet, when the business looks for a justification for such redeployments, it is to the supply chain, that the question is mainly directed. This paper addresses the question of getting to the value in ERP systems, whether they are already deployed or about to be deployed. ...back to top of page >

Inventory 2003 : Inventory Management Performance at big Pharma (SR01). This report provides an illustrative comparison of the inventory performance of 13 of the top 14 pharmaceutical companies. These are Pfizer, GSK, Astra Zeneca, J&J, Aventis, BMS, Novartis, Roche, Wyeth, Lilly, Schering Plough, Abbott and Takeda. The analysis presented is a comparison of Inventory to CGS in the 2002 annual reports, with subsidiary commentary on supply chain length, and inventory to Revenue comparisons. Amazingly, the data shows that pharmaceutical companies are operating with anything between 3.0 and 8.2 months of CGS on hand! Which level is best? ...back to top of page>

Sales and Operations Planning in Pharma/Healthcare/Technology organizations (KL02). Supply Chains are complex multi-stage multi-plant networks. SKU complexity, specification variety and the intrinsic non-responsive of batch processing all conspire to amplify the challenge of managing such monsters. If senior management wants to take charge of the supply chain and build a review process which assures that supply chain operations will support sales activity, then the deployment of an appropriately structured Sales and Operations Planning process is the way forward. ...back to top of page >

Strategic Inventory Management in Pharma/Healthcare/Technology Supply Chains (KL01). Amazingly most senior directors in healthcare/technology companies, who are responsible for supply chain inventory, do not know how much inventory they should carry. With the significant values of fiscal assets that are tied up in inventory and the pressures for improved cash liquidity in order to fund the ever increasing costs of product discovery and development, responsible supply chain directors should be able to address the following simple questions:

  1. How much inventory is appropriate in the Supply Chain?
  2. Which inventory drivers does one pursue in order to achieve a target inventory level?

...back to top of page >

Dr John Harhen, has produced many other publications, prior to Orbsen Consulting. To review the list of these, click here.

Future Publications of the Orbsen Knowledge Letter

These publications are available in Pharmaceutical, Healthcare, Technology and general idiom, in both PDF and Microsoft Word Format.

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