Establishing An End-To-End Supply Chain Digitization Transformation with Johnson & Johnson

By: Chase Maser

The ultimate goal of any successful supply chain is to better anticipate issues while meeting customer demand. However, being able to achieve that is getting more difficult with outdated legacy strategies.

Overall, companies that neglect to transform their operations by leveraging data and automation are the ones that will get left behind. In supply chain management, some of the most successful companies, like Amazon and Alibaba, focus on streamlining customer experiences, while optimizing every step of the delivery process. From flexible shipping options to an intricate network of fleets and warehouses, creating end-to-end visibility is what leads to progress, and Johnson & Johnson is a great example to follow. 

Any company looking to establish an end-to-end supply chain digitization transformation should look to Johnson & Johnson and emulate what they're doing. 

Johnson & Johnson's Innovative Medical Supply Chain

One of the most impressive qualities of Johnson & Johnson's medical supply chain is that they produce and ship a variety of life-saving medicines and products all over the world. 

For instance, their range of products include...

             Artificial knees

             Eyecare products (almost 5 billion contact lensesannually)

             Oral care products

             Haircare products

             Sutures (they supply 80% of all sutures around the world)

Needless to say, their repertoire is ever-growing and easily managed thanks to an innovative medical supply chain that compiles data in real-time and processes it immediately to optimize machine learning. For instance, in January of 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the company's automated corrections process, which allows them to solve product issues immediately to ensure high-quality deliverables at a much faster rate since off-line quality testing is no longer necessary. 

Data isn't the only thing that's useful for better results, either. Altogether, Johnson & Johnson aims to collect data, implement digitization, and develop a thorough operating system that assists patients throughout their entire lives. The idea is to establish a cyclical supply chain that uses constant updates to create a new era of demand and patient care. 

Data is the First Step

Along with their data initiatives mentioned above, Johnson & Johnson prioritizes giving patients an active role when it comes to their treatments. 

In fact, research shows that 57% of patients today use smart devices to share data with their doctors, so by exploring more ways to share data across all channels—from patients all the way to suppliers—supply chains can deliver results far beyond just a product. Currently, Johnson & Johnson is developing two programs that revolutionize data and the entire customer experience: 

1.          Designing pill bottles that monitor the number of times a patient uses the medication and shares that data with healthcare providers to better personalize treatments.

2.          Tracking individual pills to better understand the effects and authenticity of treatment, as well as how effectively it reaches the patient. 

Digitization and Robotics Come Second

With data at the helm, Johnson & Johnson then focuses on digitization and robotics strategies to improve the end-to-end visibility of their supply chain.

Essentially, this means implementing major changes within their factories using a modern trend called "Industry 4.0." This basically leverages the use of sensors throughout the manufacturing process, which collects more data that can be processed in real-time to make instant refinements to supply chain operations. Also, other supply chain teams that the company oversees gain assistance froma robot named YuMiwho carries out specific, monotonous assembly procedures to streamline productivity and eliminate human errors. 

In addition, digitization transformation speaks to the ability of instant mitigation of manufacturing problems. For instance, with real-time data from sensors working non-stop, suppliers can immediately recognize when a machine is starting to malfunction and affect product quality. The same rules apply to any step of the supply chain, too—as soon as tracked results start to produce subpar ratings, changes can be remedied on the spot and anticipated for the future. 

Being Patient with Progress is Third

Finally, Johnson & Johnson knows that making steady progress requires patience every step of the way. 

Kathy Wengel, Executive Vice President & Chief Global Supply Chain Officer of the company shares that "[they] used to think that [they] had to solve every challenge [themselves]. Over time, [they] learned that [they] need[ed] to look outside of Johnson & Johnson, and even outside [of their] industry, to find new ideas and ways of working to help [them] move faster and deliver better value to patients, consumers and customers." 

Over several years, Johnson & Johnson took major steps to pursue digital transformation ahead of their competitors, which lead to them setting the pace and learning from their own mistakes. That being said, the trial and error process has helped them make steady progress, allowing them to develop solutions that actually work, rather than wasting time and funds on random ideas or temporary fixes. 

At the end of the day, their operating system is built on being patient—taking the time to efficiently adapt to patient needs, while testing and learning more and more about their own supply chain simultaneously. 

End-to-end supply chain digitization is set to be a hot topic at LogiMed 2019, taking place in March at the Rancho Bernardo Inn, San Diego, CA.

Download the agenda today for more information and insights.

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