Thomas Panzer, Bayer: “The need for supply chain reliability has never been more important”

Around the world our health care systems are being transformed. The aging population, the trend to specialized medicine, novel and advancing technologies, increasing cost pressure and digitalization of processes is changing the way we provide healthcare. Already, the provision of a wide spectrum of small and large molecules to patients is tremendously increasing the complexity in a supply chain. Innovative treatments for diseases with an urgent medical need including new, biologically based therapies, such as modified monoclonal antibodies or cell and gene therapies, will add to that. “Yet our passion to be closer to the patient has never been stronger and the need for precision timing and supply chain reliability for individual patient treatments has never been more important,” says Thomas Panzer, head of Supply Chain Management, Bayer Pharmaceuticals.

By Helen Armstrong

Thomas Panzer has the task of preparing his organization for these challenges. Based in Berlin he manages the global supply chain network which includes the planning and logistics in central as well as in regional setups in different locations across the world.

What are your responsibilities?

“I head the Supply Chain for Bayer Pharmaceuticals. It includes global, regional and local organizations responsible for the supply of all pharma products including launch management for all three technological areas of small and large molecules as well as medical devices.  We support multiple therapeutic areas like cardiology, ophthalmology, haematology, neurology, women’s health, oncology, radiology and more.”

”We are responsible for the planning and execution of our supply chain network from end to end within our organization and are accountable for the inventories, S&OP/IBP, risk management as well as being the key interface partner for our commercial and marketing organization.”

What is the strategy of the company: product leadership, operational excellence or customer intimacy?

“The pharmaceuticals division aspires to become a science leader in key areas of innovative medicine, and we strive for product leadership. As a supply chain organization our visionary goal is to get as close as possible to the ultimate customer – the patient. As products move through the life cycle, the way we manage them from different angles changes. When we launch a product, our priority is speed and flexibility and ensuring highest service level. Especially for specialized medicine products with very small patient groups everything is fully centered around the patient’s need.”

”As a product moves through its life cycle it moves into a different phase of risk coverage, service level commitment, inventory policy and optimization maturity. For established products we strive for a well-balanced approach to run an efficient supply chain while maintaining the service level that we promised to the customer. We call this segmented or tailored approach and it differs by therapeutic area and product.” … … …

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This article was first published in Supply Chain Movement 34 | Q3 – 2019