For your convenience, you can either listen to the Podcast below, or read the transcription in this blog.
Complex Processes Simplified
Every now and then, I find myself drawn to the Discovery Channel’s “How It’s Made” program. You probably know the one—it’s a TV show that gives a behind-the-scenes look at how some of our most well-known consumer items are put together, packaged and sold. There’s something strangely hypnotic and satisfying about watching thousands of bottles roll through a giant machine to be filled with soda, or a seasoned professional hand-weave a basket.
Apart from providing therapeutic stress relief, the program has given me a deeper appreciation for the effort and detail that goes into a product long before it finds its way to a store shelf. The role of behind-the-scenes business-to-business (B2B) vendors in providing an excellent experience for the end customer is huge. The challenge for B2B organizations is to discover who the end customers are and what they need, without having direct contact with those customers.
To overcome this challenge, B2B organizations need to develop effective communication and collaboration practices with their business customers and partners. OpenText has had a strong business relationship with leading healthcare solution provider AmerisourceBergen for a number of years. Among the many things AmerisourceBergen does well is provide B2B distribution of pharmaceuticals to healthcare institutions around the world—and they do that very well. In fact, they handle approximately 20 percent of all the United States’ pharmaceutical distribution.
While the process of labeling bottles as seen on How It’s Made is impressive enough, each of those labels is the same—it’s just a matter of sticking them on each bottle. AmerisourceBergen’s customers have more… challenging requirements.
Here’s what Scott Marshall, Director of Application Development at AmerisourceBergen said about those requirements:
“One of the core components of our business is a complete drug distribution system… When customers receive their product, they also need to have documentation included with the products they receive. We call these packages ‘Driver Ready Packs.’ They’re packs of information that are kind of contained together by delivery location and customer. And they have invoices, price stickers and other documents that customers need.”
Thanks to a deal struck with major US retailer Walgreens a few years back, AmerisourceBergen had to triple their production and delivery of those Driver Ready Packs. In fact, AmerisourceBergen now processes 275,000 documents and prints 20,000 bundles of Driver Ready Packs every day. And remember, they distribute products of the most vital nature to be delivered to waiting patients, doctors and families. The room for error in these thousands of custom-packaged and addressed bundles is virtually nil, and time is always a factor.
“Back in 2007,” Scott says, “AmerisourceBergen realized that they had been spending a lot of time and effort, and they were not putting that documentation together very efficiently. So they partnered with OpenText and took a look at [OpenText™ Customer Communications Management (CCM)], which back then was referred to as StreamServe, to help automate the collection of this documentation, centralize it, and help make our printing more efficient.”
“It automated the assembly of the documentation and sorting,” Scott continues, “and kind of gave an easy way to format content for the delivery person. It improved integrations with more modern technology. We actually had a much faster throughput and printing process, and a lot more accuracy. Overall it reduced our processing steps by about 80 percent and reduced the time it takes to generate our documentation by two thirds.”
Catering to Customer Needs
AmerisourceBergen generates documentation with CCM in a variety of ways, depending on how their customers prefer to receive it. By working closely with customers, OpenText continuously adjusts and enhances the capabilities of their solutions to meet the changing and evolving needs of their customers.
Scott says that “One of the things [they] really liked about CCM is that you can take the same information and make it available in multiple channels such as faxing, emailing.”
“What we see a lot now,” says Scott, “is that customers tell us how they want to be communicated with, and you have a mix where you might have someone who is a little more traditional, who likes having paper in their hand that they can feel, where others want to receive things electronically. So we have been trying to keep up or ahead of what our customers’ wants are, and use tools such as CCM that really provide cutting-edge technologies that are able to meet customer needs and communicate in different digital manners.”
Certainly, the flexibility, convenience and environmental consciousness of digital documentation is a great benefit for customers, and AmerisourceBergen is poised to help their customers make that transition with support from OpenText and CCM. They are also prepared to make other agile adjustments.
I’ll let Hiren Patel, Director of Application Delivery explain:
“The business has ever-changing needs in terms of legal disclosures on documents that have been printed, on any text, updates, or in any new document. Now things of that nature, any changes for the application or a solution per se, are very easy to make. They are less stressful in terms of impact to our production.”
“There was an incident where a year ago,” Hiren goes on to say, “when we had come across a business requirement to comply with the new DQSA Act passed by the government. It was critical to meet the timeline. To comply, we had to create advanced ship notice documents on very short notice. But we were able to make the required changes and deliver that on time. I think that was one of the key pieces where we identified how easily we can build documents and deliver them with the CCM solution that we have in place.”
AmerisourceBergen has done a great job at keeping up with changing customer requirements and industry regulations, but they’re not left alone to manage their IT implementations. Thanks to their strong relationship with OpenText, they always have the support and technical expertise they need to provide an excellent experience for their customers.
“We keep OpenText support on hand for whenever we might need them and reach out to them to understand how, or if, there is a better way to resolve something,” says Hiren. “Because for any successful project, you want to create a proper foundation so you have a stable and scalable solution. We highly value [OpenText Support] because they are experts, properly trained. They know the ability of the platform and features that it can provide. They can guide you in terms of how to architect it and properly manage your business and how you can solve their issues. So, again, we definitely value them.”
For B2B organizations, an excellent customer experience is often built upon the service that customers are able to provide their customers. AmerisourceBergen has found a reliable, scalable solution in OpenText Customer Communications Management that gives Amerisource customers like Walgreens the information they need to deliver important pharmaceutical products in a timely and responsible manner.
Together, B2B alliances like the one developed between OpenText and AmerisourceBergen can accomplish much more, and provide customers with a far superior experience than they’d be able to achieve alone.