A well known challenge for pharmaceutical companies is visibility into product sales and supply chain movement. Although the industry lacks item-level visibility (the root of industry visibility issues), pharmaceutical manufacturers actually have access to a tremendous amount of sales data and product movement-related information through both fee-for-service agreements (more specifically 867 data) and data delivery services such as IMS. However, despite differences in the types of sales information th
Pharmas are overwhelmed by the information they receive through both IMS and 867 data, largely due to the enormous breadth of information. Companies continually struggle with dissecting IMS data, identifying which portions are most important, choosing which pieces to push to their sales force, and formatting the information into user-friendly reports and dashboards for field sales. Companies want to alleviate time spent by field sales on analysis, and instead make data instantaneously actionable to improve sales force utility. Similarly, pharmaceutical companies are so inundated with 867 information, both due to its breadth and frequency, that very few companies actually harness its value today in any meaningful way. For example, revenue leakage in the life sciences (for more information, see report: Revenue Leakage: Plugging The Holes In The Pharmaceutical Channel) causes companies to lose approximately 4.5% of revenue annually, amounting to billions of dollars lost by manufacturers each year. 867 data could help companies reduce this leakage significantly, but very few companies have figured out how to harness this information or properly bake it into reconciliation procedures. Millions of records sent in a non-user-friendly format that are received on a weekly, sometimes daily, basis are simply too much for pharmas to handle.
The bottom line is that manufacturers need help streamlining, processing, understanding, and mobilizing sales data so they can make it more actionable and can squeeze more strategic business value from it. A long overlooked niche opportunity, vendors in this market are finally starting to pay attention to this need and are working to position themselves as a solution.. Several different industry vendors are currently exploring ways to offer products and services that would help pharmas derive more utility from IMS information. One such way might be to intercept the relationship between IMS and manufacturer, where a vendor (as a value-added partner to IMS) would serve as a re-packager of IMS information, but deliver the information in a more personal format that has been customized specifically to a manufacturer's needs. This would allow pharmas to let go of the "processing" side of receiving IMS data, and just focus on the "actionable utilization" part. Most pharmas would welcome a service like this with open arms. Interestingly enough, anyone wonder why the same "middle-man" dynamic hasn't yet been applied to 867 data? Stay tuned, we will discuss that thought further next week.