Where OpEx Meets Client Delight
The core principles of Operational Excellence (OpEx) are to add value that satisfies the client; eliminate waste and variation; optimize throughput; involve, align and empower employees; and, continuously pursue perfection.
At Cenduit we are working to go beyond merely satisfying the client. We strive to utilize the core principles of OpEx to add value that delights the client. Many organizations don’t focus on fully understanding what value the client expects. More times than not, value is determined by internal stakeholders without taking the time to ask and fully understand what the client holds most important. This is particularly true at the site and sponsor level in the clinical trials and IRT/RTSM industry.
Internally at Cenduit, we continually discuss ways we can delight clients. This quest is embedded into several core business principles, which entail strategies and tactics to help improve and exceed expectations to create a more meaningful experience for the client.
We take these principles quite seriously, taking our discussion to the next step and listening to the voice of our client to better understand how they define value. What we hear most often from our clients is the need to quickly deliver changes to operational studies. The need for agility in change is quickly becoming paramount in service delivery models in the IRT markets. Clinical trials are becoming more and more complex amid an evolving regulatory landscape, a limited pool of available patient populations, 60 percent of trials requiring protocol amendments, and an increasing need to bring medicines to market to help patients lead better lives.
Seeing these challenges on the near horizon, we conducted an exercise called Voice of the Customer (VOC), which is used to identify what our clients care about in order to provide a best in class service quality. VOC is a simple exercise that can yield powerful results. We conducted the VOC, aggregated the responses from our clients, collected internal metrics and KPIs, and challenged ourselves to reduce delivery lead times of study changes by 50%, a massive reduction in delivery time and an ambitious goal that aligns with our tireless commitment to accelerating delivery, and providing high quality products.
With the knowledge we gained by listening to our clients, and a goal defined, we set out to hold a hands-on, globally-connected Kaizen at our Basel, Switzerland office. We brought together a collaborative cross-functional team from our Project Management Group, Technical Operations, R&D and Quality Assurance. Through our efforts, we were able to achieve our goal of reduction in lead times in our processes by introducing an improved delivery process. In fact, we have reduced the delivery lead times of system changes at an average of 60%, beating our initial estimates and goal.
One of the core principles of our service delivery model at Cenduit is taking a differentiated approach by embracing OpEx principals. We refer to this as “industrializing our operations.” At the core of our service delivery model is a module of both visual and virtual collaboration forums.
What’s the meaning behind OpEx meeting client delight? Through this journey, we have increased collaboration internally, and more importantly fostered more meaningful engagement with our clients. The Greek Stoic philosopher Epictetus once wrote, “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.” Listening is one of the most powerful tools humans have, it is the way we learn and grow as people and as an organization.
A while back, a Forbes magazine article stated that the capability to listen will define best in class organizations. It begins with a cultural shift away from a broadcast mindset to listening. The ultimate objective is for the client to feel they were heard. By listening to our clients we are fulfilling our mission to help bring medicines to market quicker for the patients we serve. This is where innovation meets quality on the road to client delight.