The pharmaceutical sector finds the most successful treatment for e-procurement: the Recordati group is using Accelerate modules to standardize purchases and capitalize any assets generated during negotiations.
Digital Transformation is not just a matter of tools and platforms. It takes determined people to drive innovation, intercept business needs and demonstrate the benefits of digitization. It is also a challenge for people who play a key role in procurement and everything that is part of the procurement world. Raw materials, services, RFx, contracts, supplier profiles: the digitalization of processes allows the purchasing department to move on from the traditional stand-alone role and to achieve a status of proactive link in the streamlining process of the business, a component fully integrated into an information management system in which the data - stored, processed and reused - become part of the company's assets.
The Recordati Group's experience reflects this trend. The platform choice and the innovative approach of the people who have been called to deploy the solution in the company, allow Recordati to purchase faster, better, and with more reliability, creating the basis of a uniform and integrated model ready to be adopted in all the international branches of the group.
Since 1926, the Recordati Group has been active in the Research, Development, Production and Distribution of Pharmaceutical Products. Almost a century of experience during the company's history has been the protagonist of an important development on an international scale. Recordati is based in Milan and operates in all European countries, Turkey, North Africa, USA, Canada, Mexico, South America, Japan and Australia, with a total of more than 4,100 employees, including a network of medical representatives working to promote a wide range of innovative products, both original and under license, dedicated to various therapeutic areas and with a focus on rare diseases.
To explain the evolution of Recordati's purchasing department, two important dates must be mentioned. In 2016, the group chose Synertrade Accelerate as its support platform for the digital transformation of its procurement activities. In 2018 Elena Lamarca was signed as Purchasing Project Manager to consolidate the use of deployed modules, to define internal best practices to maximize the potential of e-procurement and to start a process of integration - as wide as possible - of the solution at a global level, with the aim of confirming the chosen tool as a single and official environment for all operations related to the purchases of the organization.
The need to provide Recordati with a platform for e-procurement comes from the desire to overcome the dynamics of direct, personal and unstructured negotiation that linked buyers to suppliers. This is an operative model that, also for the pharmaceutical sector, has inevitably clashed with a market struggling with an inevitable transformation. An increase of complexities has also involved purchasers, revolutionizing traditional processes until it has become essential to resort to innovation.
"We were the protagonists of rapid growth also as a result of acquisitions of new companies", explains Elena Lamarca, Purchasing Project Manager at Recordati. "The necessity to have control through a centralized corporate governance passed also from giving an imprint as univocal as possible to e-procurement. The support of a platform like Synertrade's Accelerate would have made it easier to achieve these goals."
A challenge far from ordinary in a pharmaceutical company with more than ninety years of history and organized in many branches around the world, procurement involves a large number of people through multiple steps that generate content to share and subscribe. This is not just inside the organization: buyers are confronted with suppliers who are not always inclined to follow sales discussions and negotiations in a dedicated web environment, as well as the qualification processes required to submit the offer and the phases of the tendering process. "The difference, as always, is made by people," underlines Lamarca. "A successful transformation project depends on the collaboration of everyone."
In the selection of the platform, Recordati required a special attention to the flexibility of the solution and to the partner who would have integrated it into the company's operating environment. "The tool that would have helped us digitize our purchasing processes had to be adapted to our real needs," confirms Lamarca. A factor in which Synertrade's solution is still a winner. "The support we receive makes the difference, combined with the scalability with which you can schedule the implementation and the ability that Synertrade has to follow us in the configuration and integration of our processes enabled by Accelerate.”
The E-Procurement environment of Recordati has been using Supplier Relationship Management, Contract Management and Source to Contract modules for the automated management of RFx in the last three years. The main users are the 15 members of the team in the Purchasing Department in addition to other figures used for strategic initiatives relating to RFx and contracts and for data analytics operations on the information managed on the platform.
The environment to support the digitization of purchasing processes has been set up and tested in the first instance at the Italian branch. "The main project has been developed here with the aim of making an operative model able to overcome heterogeneous procedures and standardize consolidated practices," explains Lamarca. "Before exporting a new smart and digital process, we made sure that it was the most suitable for the entire organization.”
The result of this first phase was the inclusion in Accelerate of 50% of the suppliers of the group, about a thousand companies, an activity that now allows to manage more quickly the purchase contracts and RFx with the existing businesses. The next goals include the integration of the second block of companies by the end of the year and the successful implementation before 2021. At the same time, an onboarding project was launched on the Synertrade platform in approximately 20 international subsidiaries for all the active contracts relating to one of Recordati's core business categories.
All this is working hard for the connection between Accelerate and SAP. "From today, suppliers are forced to update their accounting data, relieving our administration of this very time-consuming burden for us," continues Lamarca. But that's not all. "We will soon focus on integrating Synertrade with our ERP environment for negotiation analysis activities, expanding our platform with the implementation of the Vendor Rating module for supplier evaluation in terms of financial reliability."
Elena Lamarca has no doubts: the choice of the Synertrade platform has been crucial in the transformation of key processes for the corporate procurement. Purchases and RFx now start and end in a systematic and orderly manner. "Accelerate has allowed us to make interoperable processes previously distributed between the domain activities of the various Recordati buyers," underlines Lamarca. "Now we have available standards that, although differing in spending area, are structured - thanks to a single approach - in process steps that are perfectly overlapping."
Accelerate is now the master environment for purchasing operations. The information can be consulted through a single access and the platform guarantees transparency and visibility to the data of each negotiation, avoiding the risk of loss of documentation and important elements for the company business. "The full traceability is essential for the purchase operations, both in the heart of the negotiations and afterwards," concludes Lamarca. "Synertrade guarantees us the systematization of a collection of experience now put together to the benefit of all departments of the company.”