EBB Invest, a Swedish pharmaceutical company, was established in southern Sweden in 2011. Consisting of four different subsidiaries based in Sweden and Lithuania – the company employs a staff of 70.
EBB provides Swedish pharmacies with quality parallel imported/distributed prescription drugs at competitive prices. It also participates in public tenders for pharmaceuticals destined for hospitals and primary care centers.
THE NEED FOR COMPETITIVE TOOLS
EBB operates in a particularly competitive industry, which requires that it stays modern and on top of new trends and ways to improve its ways of working. It describes itself as dynamic and flexible. In order to stay ahead of the changing times and competition, efficiency is absolute key.
Supplying and packing high-quality products, printing packaging material as well as storing vital information is challenging – let alone nearly impossible when working manually. EBB was clearly in need of modernizing its business.
Prior to digitalizing the business, the lack of transparency and easily shared information had become a real headache. Getting rid of unstructured processes and personal dependencies became a top priority to become even more competitive.
CORNERSTONES – QUALITY ASSURANCE, TRACKING & FLEXIBILITY
In its search for a new solution to help modernize the business, quality assurance was at the top of the list. When storing extensive information, transparency becomes extremely important, as does ensuring everything is handled correctly during the entire process.
Tracking the process was also identified as an area in need of improvement. Prior to product sales, the manual handling of extensive documentation and information made for long and tedious processes. Without tracking, these processes became even longer and quality-assurance of information even more difficult.
In the pharmaceutical industry, if something goes awry, the stakes of losing your position are high.
In our industry, we need to be flexible, dynamic, and quick to adapt to any changing requirements. Without InRule process automation, the process cycles would be slow, and we’d risk making mistakes. That’s why we started using the platform – to prevent these issues.Vilma Rakickaite, Project Developer EBB Invest
Besides quality assurance and tracking, other aspects that stood out as necessary were flexibility, ease of use, and reliability. Flexibility is crucial when working in a constantly changing industry. In order to meet requirements, EBB needed to be flexible and fast in responding. Finding a platform that EBB could manage on its own was not enough. The platform also needed to be reliable – with downage at an absolute minimum.
Operating in the pharmaceutical industry is particularly challenging. The sheer quantity of data to be stored, along with taking into account the ever-changing rules and regulations, brings strict requirements. One wrong step and the consequences can be costly–both from a financial and credibility perspective.
With these requirements in mind, EBB decided to move ahead with InRule process automation: it met all the criteria.
We can rely on InRule process automation. And the fact that it’s hosted in the Cloud means we get new functionality as the platform is improved.Vilma Rakickaite
FROM MANUAL… TO DIGITAL
EBB sources, packages and distributes pharmaceuticals, making the need for efficient processes for supply chain management essential. Before using InRule, heavy reliance was on manual tasks and individual dependencies. Each step had to be documented.
Orders and documents were sent via email, all material had to be printed and signed, operators had to fill in records by hand – with quality measured at every step. As you can imagine, these manual steps slowed down productivity drastically.
Meanwhile, much information stayed in emails, video conferences and other tools, causing a tornado of disoriented information, double work and uncertainties that information was reaching the right person, at the right time and in the right place.
We went from having our information all over the place, in emails, Skype chats and different spreadsheets – a black hole really. Now we’ve moved away from that to fully transparent and visible processes – which everyone can access.Vilma Rakickaite
The first process EBB hosted in InRule process automation was minor, yet central, involving its production lines. With the resulting efficiency evident, EBB inquired how the InRule platform could be used in other areas.
Before we knew about the benefits of InRule process automation, most of our solutions were quite primitive. As we grew, so did the amount of data. When we identified more application areas, we moved all of our processes to InRule process automation.Vilma Rakickaite
Before implementing the solution, EBB and InRule mapped out its processes during a workshop – an essential step before digitalization in order to identify areas for improvement. Subsequently, EBB took matters into its hands and finalized the implementation of the solution. Taking into account that its manual processes didn’t have the workflow mapped out, this process took about one month in total.
At first, it was quite difficult to understand how we could make this happen but with InRule’s help, this happened easily and swiftly.Vilma Rakickaite
Once the solution was up and running, EBB started with a “soft launch” which gave employees the chance to provide feedback. Moving from 100 percent manual to 100 percent digital was a dramatic change which impacted the organization and employees significantly. Feedback from team members was therefore vital.
This transfer period was predicted by EBB to go on for at least a month. However, after just one week, the rest of the team had already learned how to use the platform and quickly envisioned the positive changes and competitive edge ahead. A motivating factor the operators expressed was that it felt modern.
We were so pleased and excited that we started using the platform in the entire organization. It’s now a big part of our daily work and an essential tool for us. We’re currently working around 40 different applications.Vilma Rakickaite
NO MORE PAPER
Before implementing InRule process automation, EBB had to do approximately six to seven print-outs for each and every order, these documents then needing to be stored for a number of years in accordance with industry regulations. You can imagine what this added up to.
By switching to a cloud-based platform, this was no longer necessary. All documentation is now safely stored in InRule – and easy to access.
EASE OF USE EQUALS SELF-RELIANCE
Today, all EBB employees use InRule process automation in their day-to-day work in one way or another. The application areas range from production, supply chain management to product pipeline, HR, finance, legal, quality assurance the list goes on. Roles include managers, production operators and logistics drivers and everyone in between, with staff members supplied an individual user identity in InRule process automation.
With so many roles and application areas, it is perfectly clear that a system which EBB can easily manage on its own is essential. And that’s exactly what it’s doing – managing it on its own.
Apart from help from InRule for more advanced configurations, EBB is completely self-reliant. It has sufficient know-how about how to edit any of its processes – in the blink of an eye. Its driven, knowledgeable staff say this would not be possible without an easy and intuitive interface.
One of the biggest gains for us is the dynamic and flexible nature of the platform. We can make simple edits, based on our unique way of doing things, which change the workflow – and we can do this ourselves.Vilma Rakickaite
By mapping all the processes and launching them on its own, EBB is completely confident that everything is run the way it should. Structured and mandatory forms ensure compliance with industry rules and regulations.
InRule process automation really is a powerful tool when it comes to quality assurance. It’s today a central part of our daily lives.Vilma Rakickaite
RESULTS – VALUE EXCEEDED EXPECTATIONS
Since using InRule process automation, productivity has increased by leaps and bounds. Moving away from its manual ways of working towards a more modern and digital world has proven to be an enormous gain for the organization.
EBB has gone from fully manual ways of working to automated and digitalized processes. This has not only proven to be a huge time saver for the employees, but also increased the overall efficiency and transparency of the entire organization.
By providing its operators and drivers with tablets, it ensures access to real-time information as well as an overview of the process. Being able to identify exact statuses, queues and bottlenecks has been of enormous value to the company.
We went from 100% manual to 100% digital when we replaced all the spreadsheets, e-mails and physical logs with InRule process automation. This allowed for full transparency. More importantly, we always have real-time data at any given time.Vilma Rakickaite
By implementing time counting, the operators and drivers document when steps in the process are initiated and completed. This provides the company with financial statistics, otherwise non-existent.
Now, with all stakeholders having access to all data all the time, monthly reporting and guessing games are a thing of the past. By easily accessing these data points, estimating workloads and monitoring inventory has improved dramatically.
The data has also created a more data-driven mindset within the organization, with data serving as the basis for upcoming improvements, analyzing current situations and finding ways to perfect the business.
Lead times have also seen a positive change. With fewer manual tasks, the workflow moves more smoothly and swiftly for everyone involved. EBB can also provide its partners with a user identity in InRule to monitor status. These two factors have reduced unnecessary communication and propelled efficiency.
Working manually meant that a clear and structured documentation of workflows was lacking. Moving into InRule process automation forced EBB to find the most efficient path for the process.
With EBB consisting of different countries and business areas, communications had become woefully inefficient. Data and information were stored on different platforms, tools and meetings. But since moving to InRule process automation, everyone gets the right information at the right time, making communication much simpler when working cross-functionally.
The pharmaceutical industry has countless rules and regulations it has to abide by. By using InRule process automation, audits have become much easier to handle. All information and history is accessible and viewable – at the click of a button.
InRule process automation has exceeded our expectations. It has helped us standardize the processes and we’re now assured with the quality of the information.Vilma Rakickaite
WHAT’S IN STORE FOR EBB?
EBB will continue to strive for excellence in all areas. One area that has caught its eye is to become even more data-driven, using the data in InRule process automation to draw more conclusions about how to perfect its ways of working.
EBB is also evaluating if any other systems can be integrated with InRule that will give it an extra edge: building an ecosystem of different solutions that connects everything and creates one cohesive unit.
The work is ongoing and will continue to improve in iterations. With flexibility and ease of use in InRule process automation, EBB is able to make these improvements itself.
It will be exciting to see what EBB comes up with and, even more exciting, to see how they do it. By managing everything itself, EBB might teach InRule some cool new stuff!