Supply Chain Agenda of Maureen O’Shea from Merck


Merck, not to be confused with MSD in the USA, is the world’s oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company. Founded in 1668 in Darmstadt, Germany, its majority owners are still the descendants of Friedrich Jacob Merck. Today it employs around 50,000 employees in 66 countries and its core businesses cover healthcare, life science and performance materials. A few years ago the company prioritised its investments in Healthcare on helping create, improve and prolong life through innovative medicines and high-value solutions and put patient’s lives first and foremost. The launch of such new products, which have reached patients in record time after gaining approval, required an overhaul of the supply chain. Maureen O’Shea, Global Product Supply Senior Director for Biotech and New Molecules, is part of the team that met the challenge and ensures not a moment is wasted despite today’s unprecedented high speed of change.

By Helen Armstrong

What is your responsibility regarding the supply chain?

“I joined in 2014 and I have the great pleasure of running our Global Biotech supply chains in Merck; we have a 4 billion Euro portfolio of large molecule drugs that treat cancer, multiple sclerosis, growth disorders and fertility. My team of about 30 people and I are the key interface with manufacturing right through to patients. We work with every country to understand their needs and demands, and with the marketing teams on the longer term vision for the brand. Then we feed this into the manufacturing community to design and deliver the supply chain that flexibly and reliably supplies the needs of our patients. It is an extremely hi-tech business and we manufacture virtually all our biotech drugs here in Europe, where we have four plants. We do late stage customisation in the regions in two more plants to give us flexibility in the supply chain.”

What is the strategy of the Company (or Division/Supply Chain): Operational Excellence, Product Leadership or Customer Intimacy?

“For us in Merck, there can be only one answer – Customer Intimacy. Our entire organization is patient centric and that focus underpins all decisions. We are privileged to have a medical doctor as CEO of our Healthcare business sector who really understands the impact that diseases such as hard-to-treat cancers have on patients and families. Of course, all elements are intertwined; Customer Intimacy needs to be the drumbeat that drives the entire organization because without that core value you will never succeed in designing a product that meets customer needs well enough to deserve product leadership. By the same token, operational excellence is a tool to providing better costs and thus superior value to that customer.”

What are the main business challenges that drive supply chain projects at the moment?

… … … … …

Read the full article in Supply Chain Movement 27 | Q4 – 2017

Subscribe on tablet edition now to read the magazine>>