The processes needed for successful pharmaceutical forecasting
With the pharmaceutical industry becoming increasing digital, what processes are needed to enhance collaboration, communication, and to unlock the value of digital tools to achieve business goals?
Many pharmaceutical companies are harnessing digital solutions to elevate global forecasting. Digital tools, such as cloud-based, SaaS environments, are powering efficient, streamlined, and intelligent forecasting processes. But, for technological solutions to empower pharma, there need to be robust forecasting processes in place to make them work in alignment with your business goals.
Why are forecasting processes important?
The purpose of pharmaceutical forecasting is to complete the preparation needed for the correct business decisions to be made. Unifying and carrying out defined processes in pharmaceutical forecasting helps create accuracy for successful decision making. When ORC International sent a survey to pharmaceutical senior managers, it revealed they’d experienced a cost-heavy miscalculation of demand for new medicines by up to 25%.
The impact of poor internal processes on pharmaceutical forecasting
- Frustrated communication – Long chains of disconnected communication slow down your forecasting progress and discourage collaboration.
- Dispersed information – The information you need day-to-day is located in spreadsheets saved on local drives, multiple email attachments, and personal notes.
- Losing time to ardous admin – With disjointed processes, the hours of admin rack up with manual data collection, calculations, comparisons, emailing, report preparation, and more.
- Overcomplication within model building – Without defined processes, it’s difficult to know what everyone needs out of a forecast model. Meaning models aren’t fit for purpose to drive value. Without a clear structured model following forecasting best practices there is limited transparency; seeing outputs without a clear source of where the data came from.
Forecasting processes for pharma
Implementing the following processes holistically into your pharmaceutical forecasting can drive the Return on Investment of your digital transformations, as well as other benefits.
1. Use a personalised approach to your forecasting
It’s important to define your business needs so that, as you develop the entire forecast process, you don’t lose sight of the key objectives. By doing this, you develop a personalised forecasting approach designed to meet specific criteria. Finetuning the forecast model helps to avoid a one-size-fits-all approach for enriched results.
When evaluating the exact processes needed for an upcoming forecast, we invite you to consider your logistics – who will be working on the forecast, and how will that influence what forecast model is needed. For example, working with teams across the globe, it’s vital to not overcomplicate the model if you know certain teams can’t input certain sections. Essentially, a tailored approach involves questioning why you are using the forecast model you’ve chosen, are there any ways it could be adapted further?
With FC+, a suite of pharmaceutical forecasting software, it’s simple to ensure your forecast model complies with forecasting best practices, so you’re set up for success from day one. You can easily create multiple forecast models aligned to your needs and explore unlimited scenarios. Choose Excel-based model building software which takes a flexible approach allowing you to update and visualise relevant data for accuracy.
2. Consider your choices for pharma forecasting model development
A key component of successful model development is ensuring it’s fit for use for everyone without unnecessary complexity. Flexibility and transparency are key. It should tell a story that is understandable by everyone involved in the forecast.
Being able to visualise the data and understand it is what drives forecast buy in. The clear presentation of data is key in order to stand up to analysis and challenge and make changes. Stakeholders can understand the underlying trends and assumptions that have created the forecast from an affiliate or global view.
Adopting a centralised approach rapidly improves the consolidation part of forecasting. Challenges lie in the fact that different teams use different model formats, leading to incompatible data and making forecast consolidation almost impossible.
Find out more about pharma model forecasting best practices.
3. Introduce a culture of streamlined communication and collaboration
Communication is key to collaborative decision-making when you’re working with stakeholder teams. Without it, productivity is fragmented. Pharma needs to move away from working in silos in a way they believe is the best. Various versions of the same document sent in long email chains slow us down and causes frustration. Plus, email often limits the size of the files that can be shared.
Microsoft Teams is an essential communication tool for pharmaceutical forecasters, especially when collaborating with people across time zones. A Forrester study identified a 17.7% improvement in time-to-decision made by decision-makers. Microsoft Teams supercharges productivity because you can share files, meet and call, and instantly message, all from one interface so you’re not jumping between applications.
We can take this idea of a centralised platform for communication a step further by questioning how we can further connect processes of pharma forecasting in one interface. Within cloud-based solution, FC365, you can see updates in real-time, build new models, manage your files, and create data visualisation, all within your own Teams app environment.
The cloud provides collaboration in a secure environment with the ability for different people to work from one document together, seeing updates as they happen. Any queries you have about forecast progress, you can simply check for yourself.
4. Incorporate training within your key forecasting processes
Embracing change is a key component of digital transformation, so as well as introducing new digital tools into your forecasting processes, there should be equal prioritisation of pharmaceutical forecasting training too. This helps drive the ROI of these technology investments and ensures you’re working with forecasting best practices as they evolve.
It’s important to receive training specific to the tools in use. A huge benefit of using SaaS in pharmaceutical forecasting means you receive the latest updates in features and functionality with no additional cost or disruption, with expert support on how to best use these updates.
The continued digital transformation of pharma is resulting in technology-powered tools to maximise the efficiency of pharmaceutical forecasting. Without the correct forecasting processes in place, wrapped around these digital tools, there will still be a lack of unity and collaboration between global teams.
Do you want to improve your pharmaceutical forecasting to meet your goals? Book a demo of FC365, to experience its latest developments and see how it can work for you.
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